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.

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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 ???

Snow in the City

I decided not to go out today. I have enough food and although it would be lovely to meet all my crafty friends at crafty coffee, I suspect that they may be staying in as well.

So I decided to try and take some ‘snow’ pictures. We get snow so rarely in Southampton that is always an ‘event’, at least to me it is.

I love snowy landscapes of fields and trees but I am not going to be able to take photographs of them without going out, and quite a long way out at that.

So this is what I can see from the safety of my house and porch.

The view from my kitchen window. The ‘maybe I am not going out today’ moment.

View from the kitchen window

And upstairs the view from my Study.

View from the study

And further round to the right: a tree heavy with snow.

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In the garden – my little apple tree, laden but standing straight, well at least as straight as normal!

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Later the snow was falling more heavily and I took some photos from the porch.

The snow falling

The daffodils in a tub – waiting for spring.

Daffodils

And down the road, someone has built a snowman on top of a wheely bin.

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Well that is my day. How is yours?

CAL 58-60 Yes, I’ve gone pink!

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I don’t know if I’ve caught up or if I am three behind but here are the squares I made this week. And this time I did use a lot of pink.

Square No. 58

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I did like this square although it is another of the draughty ones. It was fairly straightforward to make but needs to be stretched out to get the best view.

Square No. 59

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I am getting quite comfortable with making these sort of squares now but it had even more ends than the previous one, many of which had to be finished down the middle! At least there was no carrying the yarn across.

Square No. 60

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I enjoyed making this one and liked the effect of the popcorns. It also had lots of rows of trebles which I like, as for some reason I find them easier to do than dcs and they mean less rows. This had the most ends of all and it felt like a whole session just finishing the ends but I think the effect is worth it.

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Just think only another four squares and we will be halfway!

CAL: Joining squares

This is my hundredth post. So exciting. Hard to imagine in the beginning doing so many!

Now to the topic in hand.

It is not in my nature to start a project like this CAL without casting my mind forward and trying to imagine what the finished article will look like.

The big question seemed to be how did one join so many disparate squares together in a harmonious fashion? and preferably without sewing!

I then remembered seeing a picture of a crochet blanket, and it will have to remain a memory because I have not been able to find the picture again. The blanket, as I remember it, was made up of a number of squares which were not granny squares and were in a variety of colours and patterns, each square however was edged in the same colour and the area between each square was filled with a twisted almost rope like piece of crochet in white or cream.

I discovered that this ‘rope’ was what is produced by the ‘Flat Braid’ method of joining crochet squares and decided that it would probably do very well for this project as it would allow each square to stand on it’s own and would avoid the problem of too close a juxtaposition of colours that might not go well together.

The colours I decided to use for this purpose were the Stylecraft colours: camel and parchment as seen in this picture. Last two, second row on the left.New yarn
I decided to use them to suggest paths as inspired by this photograph and others that I took on my visit in June that show the paths in the walled gardens at Mottisfont.
Fountain

As you can see the path is edged with a brownish coloured brick and is itself light and sandy.

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This last week I took the time to try and join some of the squares using the flat braid method. I chose four squares that were naturally flat and about the same size, edged them with the camel yarn and then joined them with the parchment.

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Being a very impatient person I did this as quickly as possible and I can see I have made a mistake in one place but that doesn’t matter too much as this joining together will not be permanent and I will take the squares apart when I have finished experimenting.

I noticed that when adding the scallops the edges of the squares tended to become crinkly but this crinkling disappeared when they were joined.

Being happy with my first attempt, I decided to be more bold and chose the square that was the least flat of all: square no. 22,

Square no. 22

and decided that if I could join that in with others satisfactorily I had found my method.

This time, as you can see, with an eye to what I might do at the edges, I didn’t add the scallops on the outside.

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I declared this a success.

I think it may even be flexible enough to accommodate a slight variation in the size of the squares.

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I also learnt lessons about checking and counting so as to use the right stitches and that it is best to omit the corner loops at the edge.

Here I have made corner loops at the edge

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and here I have left them out..

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I can see that this method may show up the fact that I struggle to crochet evenly but sewing them together would show up my weaknesses even more. So I know I will use this method to join the squares at the end, when I know how many I want to use and can decide how to arrange them.

In the meantime I can start edging all the squares in the camel yarn, in between making the new ones each week.

Blog of the Year 2012 award

I have been given two awards lately. ‘The Versatile Blogger’ award by cuteasabutton and the ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ award by Patricia at daniellajoe

So a great many thanks to both of them.

My response to ‘The Versatile Blogger’ award will take more time to prepare so I will leave that for the moment and concentrate on the latter.

What I quite like about the ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ award is that you are even encouraged to give it to people who have received it already (You may notice I have the ‘one star’ version) and there is no target number of people to give it to, just all those whose blogs you have particularly enjoyed in 2012.

You can find the rules here:-‘Blog of the Year 2012’ award

I have decided to give it to all those blogs that I follow that have particularly pleased and inspired me and who I know are still in action, as some I started following have been very quiet lately or I know are having a break.

So I am awarding it to the following (alphabetical order):-

cuteasabutton82

DaniellaJoe’s Blog

The Green Dragonfly

The Little Room of Rachell | Crochet, Chat & Photos

madebypatch

My Crafty Therapy

Nice piece of work | for the love of (hand)made and things that are good for the soul

Sincerely, Sara

Wool Hogs | Colouring your world, one stitch at a time

CAL 46-57 Bumper edition!

Squares nos. 46-57

Paradoxically, the illness that stopped me making any squares over Christmas has enabled me to catch up, since the last week I have left the housework (though I did do some vacuuming yesterday) and many other activities and spent a lot of time watching films on the TV and crocheting.

So here they all are. I spent less time taking each picture than I usually do but I do not think this has made them worse than usual.

Square No. 46

Square no.46

I really enjoyed making this square. It was very straightforward and lay beautifully flat and about the right size.

I think it would make a very pretty blanket, just on it’s own but using a variety of colour combinations.

Square No. 47

Square no. 47

This one was a different matter. I liked the look of the square and decided that it must be another ‘marigold square’ so made it in orange.

However, it’s maybe the way I crochet, but it just wouldn’t lie flat and was on the small size. So I stretched it and ironed it (but left the yarn attached), and since it was still a bit small, I was naughty and crocheted an extra row of dcs round the edge to bring it up to size.

Square No. 48

Square no. 48

I liked the look of this in the book and I liked it even better in the colours I chose. Not such an obvious choice for a blanket though because of the holes in the middle.

Square No. 49

Square no. 49

Of course I enjoyed doing rainbow stripes, though the fact that these blocks are not really ‘square’ always irritates me slightly.

Square No. 50

Square no. 50

I am getting much better at these squares where you have to change colour but also use the same colour in nearby places and I stretched the yarn across the back and then crocheted over it as with square no. 45 to avoid too many ends or loops.

Square No. 51

Square no. 51

The only problem I remember with this one was having to fit 24 trebles into a 6 chain ring but I managed it in the end and was pleased with my flower.

I liked the colours in the picture so I chose to use the same ones.

Square No. 52

Square no. 52

When I had done a few rows of this one I realised that it was going to end up maybe 6.5 inches wide, so I undid it and started again making the stitches much more firmly, but even so it is a little larger than the norm that seems to be working out at about 5.75 inches.

With this one I did occasionally find I had done three dcs on the previous row instead of dc tr dc, probably when distracted by the film I was watching, but I think that this was easy to pick up on the following row, so I hope there aren’t any mistakes in the final block.

It was straightforward to do but did require more concentration than some harder blocks. I was quite surprised that such a simple pattern produced such a pronounced effect.

We were told that one side was the right side and, though that works for the block as a whole, the pattern in itself is obviously the same on both sides which is a thing worth noting for the future as I think it has been quite rare.

Square No. 53

Square no. 53

I was afraid this might be difficult, but in the event it was very straightforward. The only issue came at the end where I noticed that in the pattern we were instructed to use yarn B for the last row but the picture showed the last row as done in yarn C. I noticed in seeing other people’s blocks that some people obviously look more to the pattern and others to the picture.

For myself, having found the block to be on the small size, I decided on a radical solution by which I followed the pattern as written but than added an extra row to match the one in the picture.

I actually thought the block looked even better like this.

Square No. 54

Square no. 54

Again, I was afraid that this might be difficult but found it fairly straigforward, though when I added the green round the flower I was afraid for a time that it wasn’t going to look like the picture as the flower seemed to overwhelm the following row.

Square No. 55

Square no. 55

Another strightforward square. I didn’t like the colours in the book and much prefered my choice though I noted that there is not a lot of contrast between the ‘lavender’ and the ‘wisterior’ yarn I had used.

Square No. 56

Square no. 56

A VERY strighforward square and though it is not the way I would normally choose to make a ‘granny square’, I did think that the six chain start to each row would be easy for beginners when doing a one colour square. As I am due to introduce a friend to crochet next Tuesday I am very aware of what might be helpful to beginners.

Square No. 57

Square no. 57

I feel that I am beginning to get the knack of bobbles so this pleased me. I also liked the V or arrow arrangement of bobbles.

However one thing to note is that in my opinion the pattern should read ‘repeat rows 1-16’ and not just ‘1-15’ as looking closely at the picture there is a thicker band above the last bobble than you get with only the fifteen rows and the direction of the stitches on the last row suggest that it is an even numbered row and not an odd one.

Since I thought that this was also more consistent with previous bobble squares and would not make the square too large, I added the extra row.