My grandson’s Christening

My youngest grandchild was being christened on Sunday but just the previous Thursday afternoon I learned that I would need to host the post christening party in my home. So I rallied round and shopped and cooked.

There wasn’t time to bake a proper party cake with marzipan and icing so I made my favourite double choc muffins and iced them appropriately.

Here is a picture of him being baptised.

and a family group of Alfred with uncle, aunt, mother, father, and brother.

When we got home I laid out the food

This will enlarge

and here is a close up

I didn’t get to take any pictures after that as I was too busy being a good hostess.

But everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and we had a great afternoon.

The cake was very popular with everyone trying to work out if there was a cake they could have with their initial. I also packed up a few in kitchen paper for people to take home because they wanted another but didn’t have room!

Just to bring crochet into it – the crochet lace edging on the tablecloth was made by my mother over 50 years ago and it was our ‘Christmas’ tablecloth.

Here is a close up of the lace.

I don’t know how many hours it took to complete but it was a lot!

My mother also made me a ‘Christmas’ cloth with a slightly simpler lace edging.

They are murder to iron but oh so beautiful. I would never have the patience to do the same.

And now for something completely different

I am proceeding with the socks and flower cloth but nothing interesting to show yet so I thought I would share another creative venture.

Mint Jelly

Most years about this time I admire the wonderful greenness of the mint and intend to do something with it but then realise either that it has flowered and gone to seed or in recent years that it’s been eaten up by caterpillars.

But this year I decided to make some mint jelly.

I assembled my ingredients:

a recipe I collected long ago off a gelatine sachet.

some mint

vinegar

sugar

and some gelatine

I chopped the mint, put all except the gelatine in a saucepan and boiled it up.

While it was boiling I decided to wraps some presents.

My youngest grandchild s being baptised this coming Sunday so I have bought him a christening present.

Pewter money box

and as I will also see my granddaughter and her parents on Sunday, I wrapped up the special present I have been making for her birthday as well, as I can give it them on Sunday and avoid having to post it.

Now the mint jelly is in the jars and cooling.

I didn’t remove the mint as I am sure that will make it tastier and I didn’t add colour as I don’t like the violent green (or the excessive sweetness) of the shop variety.

All I need now is some nice roast lamb to eat it with.

Devising a Flower cloth

This time I decided to use my own patterns.

When I thought about what I might do when I had finished my hexagon blanket, I decided that what I could do with was a cloth to cover the table in the guest room/study.  The room’s main colour is green, so that together with my love for flowers suggested a ‘flower’ cloth.

I thought making it from a collection of granny squares would be a good idea and I tried a few flower granny squares that other people had done but I wasn’t entirely happy with any of them and they all came out slightly different sizes, so I decided that I would have to work out my own patterns.

I wanted to take my colour inspiration from real flowers and I wanted a variety of different designs.

I ended up with a three row, twelve-petalled flower; a two row, twelve-petalled flower and a two row, eight-petalled flower.

The first were inspired by calendula marigolds, different sorts of water lilies, cineraria, and morning glory,

the second by all sorts of daisies

and the last by the eight-petalled dahlias that come in such a wonderful array of colours.

Since it was a cloth, I decided to lash out on some cotton yarn and bought the Rico Essentials Cotton that I showed you in an earlier post.

Of course I couldn’t have got that far with out a bit of experimenting and planning.

So I made a few sample flower squares in the acrylic yarn I had to hand.

[I am not using the white flower in the above, maybe it is more of a star, but I will use the other three.]

I also practised a few alternate edgings but haven’t decided which will be most suitable.

I then planned out an arrangement of the different types and colours – not going to be random this time.

I have given myself a little time off from the socks and have started on the first row.

This will enlarge

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One other thing I have done lately is to make some

stitch markers.

I have been looking at ones that other people have made and wondered if they would be a good idea but really wanted to see them before I bought any.

I had been using pieces of yarn while knitting the socks but suddenly I worked out a way I could make some for myself, that were fine enough not to interfere with the stitches for the socks, using shir elastic and some odds and ends of beads I’ve had even since my teens.  They may not be as classy as the ones on the web but they work.

Finally getting down to the sock(s)

First, of course, I had to knit a square (well actually a rectangle) to help me get an idea of my tension on this particular yarn.  Then work out how many stitches to use as the pattern I am following is a measure your foot and work it out sort of thing.  I also had to work out increases for the leg and I hope I’ve got it right because I don’t really know what you are supposed to do.

Then I had to decide on the patterning, if any. Something like my over the knee socks (which I took to mean a bit of texture in between flat stocking stitch vertical stripes) had been requested. I trawled through sock pattern after sock pattern on the web, only to realise that such patterns were not common.

However, I stopped to examine more closely a pattern that was all over what I think was called an ‘always right twist’.  I realised that this might provide a motif that I could use for my stripes and what was even more exciting was that as a motif it was just like a sort of rib except for a fancy stitch once every five rows. So I tried a couple of inches to see if it would work.  I increase the number of purl stitches either side from one to two after a few rows so that is why it looks a bit odd.

I decide that I liked it and it is so easy I might find I don’t end up having to do too much undoing when I go wrong.

The ‘always right twist’ stitch is just so easy – the pictures do enlarge if you wish to see more closely.

First you knit two together but leave the stitches on the left hand needle
Then you insert the needle between those two stitches and into the one on the right and knit it
Finally you pull the stitches off the left hand needle and it’s done

I then started with the disposable cast on and the wraps to make the toe of the sock.

I did end up having to undo a few rows, which was discouraging, as I wasn’t sure if I had done all the wraps right and some looked a bit loose. But maybe I shouldn’t have tried to do it while watching the qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix.

I find knitting or crocheting while watching a Grand Prix is really good because it helps calm me down during the anxiety provoking / exciting bits and is something to attend to during the boring bits. Qualifying was much too exciting. 🙂

However I have now got this far.

I still cannot believe that I am knitting with such a fine yarn on such small needles.

Now the sock is well under way maybe I will allow myself to get out my new cotton yarn and see if the squares for my flower cloth come out the right size.

One last picture for you all

I wrote about all the things I had won from cuteasabutton’s birthday giveaway and said that I thought I would use the brooch on my jacket. Well I found an even better place for it: on my sun hat.

I am one of those people who have to wear a hat if I am out in the sun for any length of time because otherwise I get a headache. So I have a cotton easy to pack sun hat but I sometimes think when I am going out looking relatively smart that maybe it looks a bit too like a hat for the beach but now I have added the brooch and I think it looks quite stylish!

Oh! and I’ve been using my blanket for it’s original purpose on my bed: as an adjunct to a sheet and it works very well.

Lots of lovely yarn!

Been at home this week feeling awful with a bad cold.

But determined to still do the post on yarn that I promised. At least I don’t need to go out to do it and the weather has become unbelievably warm. I think it was being brave and wearing my thickest jumper instead of turning the heating back on last week that allowed my body to succumb to the virus.  Well it is May, we shouldn’t be needing heating. 😦

I have now bought three lots of yarn that is somewhat more expensive than my normal acrylic.

The first yarn that I bought – that will probably be the last that I use! – was bought when I was buying some acrylic yarn on the internet as it seemed a good way to avoid postage!

Here it is.

I am sure you can see why I bought it.

Wild extravagance, but if I am knitting socks for someone else it seemed only fair to make some for myself :-). Not sure which to use first but then I will have plenty of time to decide.  I had been looking longingly at this yarn for a quite a while but thinking I would never buy any as I don’t knit socks!

This

is much more boring and is for the white socks I promised to make.

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One request I have of all you nice people out there is that I am intending to make the socks with a little bit of pattern up the sides between bands of stocking stitch –  something like this:-

These are some over the knee socks I have.

When I was practising making socks I quickly came up with a pattern to fill in the stripes just to get the general idea

but this was in double knitting weight.

However, I wondered if anyone had details of a pattern to give vertical stripes between stocking stitch that would work in sock yarn that they thought was especially good to use and were willing to share.

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I have saved the best till last. This is the yarn I have bought for my next crochet project. It is for what I call a flower cloth and I will do an initial post about that sometime soon.  I don’t think I could cope with just knitting white socks for weeks and weeks.

It is my first cotton yarn and I had a lot of difficulty finding the right one as I wanted nice bright colours and some other yarns had really uninspiring yellows.

If I get on well with it I can see my buying more, as the price is more reasonably than some brands and there are lots of household items that would probably be better made of cotton than acrylic.

Hope you enjoyed the first view of these yarns and I will be very grateful for any suggestions to enhance the white socks I will soon be making.

Happy, happy, happy!

I am so happy at the moment.

I have my blanket across the end of my bed keeping my toes warm in this unusually chilly May.

And on Friday my goodies came from cuteasabutton’s birthday giveaway which I was so lucky to win.

They were packed in these lovely bits of tissue paper.

So now I have:-

Some jolly bunting for my bedroom bookcase giving the room a carnival air.

Egg cosies to keep my Saturday lunch eggs warm

Napkin rings to enhance the table on special occasions and dinner parties.

Buttons just looking for a chance to enhance a garment.

A summery brooch to wear on my jacket when it’s not going to rain!

and pegs to keep my pattern pages together (among other things).

So thank you cuteasabutton for all these lovely things.

I have also finished all the pattern piece for that mystery thing I am making. Yeh!

So here are all the pieces in dark red plus two in the lighter red that I had missed first time around.

I think this is more of a giveaway as to what it might be! I didn’t really realise when I bought the pattern what a lot of separate pieces there would be so I hope I can sew them together well. Sewing is not my best skill.

Full reveal mid June.

I also received the yarns for my next big crochet project today but I will show you those in a separate post next week plus my other special yarns.

Another Project finished!

You remember in my ‘Projects, Projects, Projects’ post I showed you a picture of the attic24 inspired crochet bag that I was making to hold my knitting or crochet.

Well at last I have got round to finishing it.

I finished the bag part a few days ago and then I settled down to make two handles. Seven rows, well it had to be two rainbows didn’t it?

And lastly I got to the flowers.  I decided that I ought to be able to work out flowers and leaves for myself and in the end I make four flowers in different colours but the same basic pattern and twelve leaves: eight dark green and four light green to go round the flowers.

And then finally I sewed on the handles added the flowers and leaves and Yes!

Here it is! Sitting on my settee with my current lot of knitting in it.

Of course it had started with rainbow colours too.

So they could peep out from the bottom of the bag between the balls of yarn.

I said that I didn’t feel that I could say what I was making at present but here is a picture of all the bits in scarlet red that are needed.

Anyone guess what it is going to be?

A Christmas angel and other stories

In my first post I talked about knitting a Christmas Crib from a book by Jean Greenhowe.

Well there were two things that I felt the crib lacked: an angel and a star and so when I had finished the rest of the crib I set out to make both an angel and a star.

The star was just a stellated dodecahedron knitted in pale yellow – a cut down version of the pattern I found HERE.
It was a terrible struggle and I wouldn’t say I had done it very well but it serves.

The angel I was quite pleased with and the reason I am creating this post is because I went to a local Knit and Natter / Stitch ‘n Bitch type group on Friday and got talking to someone who is in the middle of making Jean Greenhowe’s crib at present and I told her about my angel and as she was interested I said that I would write up the pattern.

Now I admit the pattern isn’t any good if you haven’t bought Jean Greenhowe’s book as I just give the details of how I chose to embellish the standard figure she had created. However, in case anyone might be thinking of making the crib and wanted to add an angel, I include it here.

As it is a bit long I am adding it as an extra page – HERE.

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Now for what I meant to post earlier in the week before I decided to write about my trip to Exbury gardens instead.

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Verstile Blogger – update

I was also nominated for this by Maryanne of Woolhogs

So very many thanks to Maryanne. Since the nominations were so close together I don’t think I can repeat the whole thing but I have discovered four more blogs to recommend so as to bring my tally up to fifteen overall.

These are also all creative, crafty people.

The Little Room of Rachell

SophiesHats

crafts by the sea

CrazyCrochetMama

I discovered these blogs because I had a good look after they started following mine, so please can I ask all of them to regard this as notification of their nomination and to refer to my earlier post as to the ‘rules’ of the award and to respond as they see fit.

I know there are many other worthwhile blogs out there, covering a great variety of subjects, so the fact that I have restricted my choice to crafty, creative ones, should not be taken as any denigration of all the others.

A Feast of Colour

Yesterday a friend and I went to Exbury gardens. After all the rain we have been having we were blest with a lovely day: a bit chilly and cloudy at first but changing into a glorious sunny afternoon.

We don’t have cars so we had to take a bus, using our “oh! I am so grateful” free bus passes and walk the last mile and a half.  The first part of the walk involved a path through a small wood and I found to my surprise that in places the path had a stream running down the middle. No! I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised after such a wet April. Luckily we managed to get to the other end, all in one piece and without getting too muddy.

At this time of year Exbury is a real feast of colour for a rainbow junkie and I took lots of pictures. So I hope you don’t mind if I share a few with you.

There were flowers of all colours of the rainbow:

firstly a beautiful red rhododendron

and towards the end this amazing orange azalea. I was so pleased that the photograph captured it’s colur so well.

We also found delicate yellow primroses peeping out from the fallen leaves of last autumn.

There were these stunningly green ferns in what is called the Iris Garden

and bluebells in drifts of colour but also turning up all over the garden,

with these pale violet rhododendrons that towered overhead.

There were also a variety of two tone pinks in both rhododendrons

and azaleas.

We found this cool quiet corner,

some amazing fish,

including a gold one

and plenty of stunning vistas to take your breath away.

No knitting or crochet today but photography is also creative.  I hope you enjoyed sharing my day.