Trying out some ideas

The last couple of weeks I have allowed myself to try out a few ideas instead of starting on a new serious project to run alongside the CAL and granny ripple blanket.

One of these was to make a dishcloth out of ‘dishcloth cotton’.

I bought some dishcloth cotton a while ago with an eye to using it to experiment with things I might make in cotton and perhaps to actually make a dishcloth.

The first two things I discovered were that it was more expensive that I had expected and that it seemed more aran or chunky thickness that DK.

So it wasn’t going to be much good for experiments but I still thought I could make a dishcloth, which was presumably what it was for. 🙂

A friend told me how she knitted dishcloths but I wanted to try crochet. I tried a couple of crochet patterns I found on the web but wasn’t happy with the results.

Square no. 52But when I made square no. 52 for the CAL, I thought that it might make a good basis for a dishcloth as the pattern was essentially reversible and had what I thought was a good surface.

So I crocheted an eight inch square in the cotton, thought it was a bit boring and added a red border with the cotton left over from my ‘flower cloth’.

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So how is it as a dishcloth?

Plus points.

  • Although it is thicker than my normal supermarket cotton dishcloth or J-cloth I soon got used to it.
  • It works well and is good at cleaning up mugs used for tea and plates and casseroles.

Negatives.

  • It doesn’t dry overnight like the thinner cloths.
  • I don’t know how long it will be before it gets stained and disgusting looking and I feel I have to replace it.
  • If I have to replace it too often, it will be a pain having to keep making a new one.
  • I haven’t calculated but I am sure it must work out more expensive that supermarket cloths.

So the jury is out on whether I will be making another one. I might try knitting one as that would be looser and may dry quicker.

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0105-lacebookmarksMy nSocksext idea was to see if I could use a modified version of the fan bookmarks and the yarn left over from my socks to make a scarf.

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This was all I was able to make from the yarn left over from one of the socks.

I decided

  • I loved the look.
  • (You can’t see the size but) It would be better made in DK weight yarn as it was a bit too narrow.
  • That I would need to buy yarn for such a project but it wouldn’t be cheap.

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Although I am not even half-way with my granny ripple blanket my mind is already looking forward to what I might make for my next blanket.

I rather fancied trying a ‘sea and sand’ coloured blanket and was on the lookout for a good pattern.

I happened to borrow from the library Jan Eaton’s “200 Ripple Stitch Patterns” and found just one pattern that really excited me and made a photocopy.

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I thought that this would be just perfect for a ‘sea and sand’ blanket and, looking through the colours I had available, decided I had enough to make something that would give the general idea.

I thought that I could use a demo square of this pattern as a new cafetière cosy but my first attempt using a 4.5 hook, that is probably what I would use for a blanket, was too wide so I tried again with a 4mm hook and produced this.

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I did not find it the easiest pattern and  it was not until the last few rows that I was not having to redo many of the ‘htr3tog’ (UK) two, or even three or four times before I could get them right but I love the look and it is worth the effort.

More about the cosy on Monday!

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Lastly I thought I would include an update on my granny ripple blanket.

I think you can now see how the colours go, though they are not entirely accurate in the photograph.

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CAL 67-69 Pretty, pretty!

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These are some of my favorite colours. So not going with the red, white and blue or brown colourway out of the book, I decided to use them this week.

Square No. 67

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I was pleased with the way this turned out. I now find these sort of flowers easier than some of the other squares but even so I did manage to make a number of silly mistakes which made me have to undo bits of it. Maybe I was over confident.

Square No. 68

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This, like so many of these types of block, is not really square though I expect it will stretch. It is a little bigger than some, but I hope not too much so. I liked my colour choices.

Square No. 69

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Not having brown in my colour range, I did not make this a ‘fudge’ square. Instead I used pretty flower colours and really like it. I could imagine making a pretty cloth out of these squares, although I would not enjoy darning in all the ends over and over again!

100 Follower Giveaway open

I was more prepared for my ‘Fifty Follower’ giveaway, as I had hoped to reach that number, but I never thought I would ever get to one hundred!

So thank you all for your interest and for those of you who comment for those comments; it’s great to meet fellow enthusists.

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The items for this giveaway are these three balls of yarn

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and these tiny buttons.

Tiny buttons

As well as this for the winner I will make two bookmarks, one each of the two patterns I have.

One of these pineapple bookmarks

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And one of these fan bookmarks.

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to be made in  whichever of these four colours the winner prefers. (white, rainbow, red, white & cream).

You can choose a different colour for each of the bookmarks.

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This giveaway is primarily for those of you who follow me by email. You can also enter if you reblog this post and if you are a follower and reblog you can have two entries.

To enter:

Please leave a comment below telling me if you are a follower or reblogging or both and what colours you would like me to use for each of the bookmarks if you win.

The closing date will be 12th February and I will draw out the name of the lucky winner on 14th February.

A winter walk

Usually when I share my pictures with you I create a normal post interleaving the photogaphs with a narrative. This time I am trying out the new gallery format as an alternative.

I would be interested in any comments you have as to whether you prefer this way of doing it.

CLICK ON ANY PHOTO to start a slideshow from that point.

January Montage

As you can see January was mostly concerned with catching up with my squares for the CAL plus a little trial of how I might join them together at the end.

I shared some snow pictures: snow being always an event in Southampton, since we don’t get it every winter, even if other places do.

I showed you the bookmarks I had made as Christmas presents, now they have been received and appreciated.

There were also a couple of awards to give out and a ‘Giveaway’ to plan for.

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CAL 64-66 Half way!

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Yes, I think this brings me to just over the halfway point, presuming we are making one of each unique block.

Square No. 64

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This, as made, is a bit smaller and curlier edged than some but I think that will correct itself when it is combined with the other squares. It is pretty and as it was called ‘Sunshine Lace’ and had a big sun shape in the middle of course I had to make it in yellow.

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I wasn’t too keen on the red white and blue blocks, even if those colours had been included in my range, so I decided to try something different.

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I think that up to now I have only used yellow on its own or as the centre of a ‘flower’. In the following two  blocks I have combined it with ‘clematis’ and ‘wisterior’ for a rather different look. I think that I must see what other combinations I have omitted up to now.

Square No. 65

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I liked the look of this one. The centre of mine doesn’t seem to want to lie totally flat but it has holes that make it interesting and the holes are not too big.

Square No. 66

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I am getting quite relaxed about making these and, with my row counter, even following the chart is straight forward and they can be combined with TV easily.

The square will add to the general variety but I have no special feelings about it.

Another Giveaway?

When I had my ‘Fifty Follower’ giveaway I always thought that I ought to have another one if I ever reached one hundred followers but had no especial expectation that that would ever happen.

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But Now!

I was actually planning to write this when I only had 99 followers but no! now it is 100.

However this time I am going to ask people to say what they think would be the best sort of thing to give away.

i.e what would you like to win if you entered?

I think that there are probably two main areas of choice.

  1. Some craft materials: yarn, buttons, ribbon etc.
  2. Something I have made – either a personal choice for the winner or something specific.

What do you think?

What would you want to win?

All ideas gratefully received.

Crochet Bookmarks

Before I continue with my subject I just wanted to share something that made me happy and surprised.

A lady called JudyR who can be found on Ravelry told me about another lady ‘fanalaine’ who had made a blanket using my ‘granny ripple’ crochet pattern. She’s finished a blanket and I’m not even half way through mine! It is a lovely looking blanket too. If you have a Ravelry account you can find some excellent photographs HERE.

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Now back to crochet bookmarks

I had originally thought that this would make a good item for the January ‘Made It’ challenge since I couldn’t enter it for the December one as it is about things that I made as Christmas presents. However, since it doesn’t look as if there will be a January challenge I thought that I would write a post about them anyway.

I took the pictures before I packed them up as presents and I just have the three.

I found the pattern for the Fan Bookmark HERE and as I thought it was so lovely decided that I would make one.

The pattern says #20 crochet cotton or DMC perle 8 which appeared from my researches to be more like #10 crochet cotton.

In the end I bought #20 crochet cotton in white, a rainbow mixture and red and some #10 crochet cotton in a white/cream mix and made the bookmark in all four of the colours.

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I later found that this style of pattern is often called “Queen Anne’s Lace” so that is what I called them when I packaged them. Although further study has shown me that the pattern most people call “Queen Anne’s Lace” is subtly different.

I also found a pattern for a Pineapple Bookmark but when I tried to use the pattern it didn’t seem to come out like the picture (though it was too small to be sure) nor like the pineapples in my mother’s ‘Pineapple Crochet Designs’ book that I had inherited, in that the outer ‘shell over shell’ seemed to be missing.

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My mother’s crochet book

So I decided to work out my own pattern which in the end I liked better, as I reversed the direction of the pineapples putting the tassel into the starting hole of the pineapple which seemed a more natural choice.

Here are two of them (again I actually made them in all four cottons).

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I will include the pattern in the top menu as normal. (Or click HERE)

Maybe Patricia of http://daniellajoe.wordpress.com/ can tell me if she thinks I have done something dreadful in making the ‘shell over shell’ consist of only [tr, ch, tr] but this seemed more in keeping with the size of the pineapples.

When I had finished all the bookmarks. I decided to package them to keep them hopefully clean and flat. I used cream card and cling film. The film was not a smooth as I would have liked but it was the best I could do.

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I think that the people who received them appreciated them and my eldest daughter wrote me that – “The bookmarks are all wonderful, you make really cool stuff.” I hadn’t seen them as ‘cool’ but who knows.

What do you think? Have crochet cotton items become ‘cool’?

CAL 61-63 Struggle, boring and a niggle!

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Square No. 61

Of all the squares I have made this has been the trickiest.

I don’t understand why it has only 2 crochet hooks as the difficulty level, to me it is definitely a four or five crochet hook block; in comparison the various raised flowers that get three hooks were easy.

I made the nine mini granny squares easily enough, though the thought of finishing off 36 ends rather depressed me, so I moved on to the other two squares.

Square no. 43Having finished the other two, I buckled down to the ends and then started the slipstitch joining. If it was a struggle last time (no. 43) This time it was worse. I resorted to a smaller hook which at least made getting into the stitches easier.

Having eventually finished the four slipstitch seams I measured it: a little over four inches! There was no way that was going to be big enough for the blanket with just a row of dcs round the edge, I stretched it a bit but it didn’t make much difference. It was too pretty to be excluded so what could I do?

I decided: I would use trebles for the last row.

But even then it was not all plain sailing, getting into the seams where I decided you needed a stitch seemed impossible, so back to the smaller hook, and working into the chains was none too easy either.

Eventually I finished it and here it is. Size: about 5.5 inches.

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So to all of you out there who sailed through making it, hearty congratulations, you are obviously much better at this that I am. I really mean it.

Square No. 62

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I wasn’t exactly excited by this square but there were no problems, just steady progress. Didn’t even have to count after the first row, though I did do so a couple of times. It even came out squarer than I expected, though looking at the photograph I am not so sure.

Square No. 63

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I am finding these squares much easier now. Just a slight anxiety as to sizing.

However I do have a niggle. I followed the chart very exactly using my row counter but at the end I looked at the picture and it didn’t look the same.

I agonised, recounted: mine and the picture, and frankly my personal opinion is that the picture is NOT the same as the pattern. Anyway I wasn’t going to redo it so it is what it is.

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And as an aside, I have had terrible problems up to now with curling corners on some squares, especially the all dc ones. I have tried to solve this in different ways but I expect you have seen that I have mostly failed. However with the last two squares this week, they were so bad that I was feeling pretty desperate but then I came up with a novel solution: using a pin I afixed a small coin to the corner to hold it down. It probably shows slightly in the photograph of square no. 63 but it certainly flattened them out.

Versatile Blogger award

versitle-bloggerAs I mentioned in a recent post I was recently awarded this by cute as a button. So ‘Thank you’ again to her.

I notice this is a different badge to that I have seen before so I am not sure if it is essentially the same or different.

As far as I am aware the rules are as usual.

  • Thank the person who gave you the award and include a link to their site.
  • Tell seven things about yourself.
  • Nominate 15 other blogs for this award.
  • Tell them that you have nominated them.

First seven things about myself

I don’t know if I have shared these things before but not to make it too complicated I think I will just say a few things off the top of my head.

  1. I have always been creative, sometimes it has been handicrafts, sometimes it has been photography and sometimes computer programming or using computer graphics.
  2. I also used to write poetry.
  3. I have three lovely children who are now grown up and have children of their own. Being a mother has always been the most important thing in my life.
  4. I have always loved Mathematics, especially geometry, because I am a very visual person.
  5. Being visual, I am also quite observant. My mother used to call me ‘gimlet eyes’ because I would notice if she made a mistake in her crochet!
  6. I love the natural world and like going for walks in the countryside.
  7. I also love reading stories but tend to prefer science fiction and murder mysteries to your typical ‘modern novel’.

I always find it very difficult to find fifteen blogs to nominate so I have decided to just nominate seven.

Finding these blogs has served a double purpose for me as I have noticed that quite a few of the blogs that I follow have either said that they are having a break or have not posted anything for a while, so I have found seven blogs that I think that I will enjoy following, including some fairly new ones.

They are alphabetically:-

got2focus I am enjoying her photographs and she does crochet too.

HIJinKs Crochet Knitting and crochet and the CAL.

Kaf’s Nice Things Knitting, crochet, cooking……………….. Very versatile!

littlemessyla Cards but crochet too.

MishellSoup Lovely crochet projects but other crafts too.

nanacathydotcom Crochet (well up on the CAL), knitting, photographs………………….

Toadstool Tales Lovely photos, crochet, and who knows what else ???