Autumn?

I knew that I wouldn’t have much to share with you of a crafting nature early this week so on Saturday I decided to go for a walk on the Common and take some autumnal pictures.

At the start I was hopeful.

But as I went to different areas, I realised that autumn was very muted on the Common at present.

Here is a view across Cemetery Lake that shows the sort of almost autumn colour I was confronted with.

But people were out enjoying themselves in the sunshine.

Taking the children to the playpark,

And going for walks.

I took a few pictures by the edge of the lake,

including some swan pictures.

I love swans.

One close-up. The feathers look so soft.

It was strange, there was brown but some of the greens looked almost spring like.

But I was pleased to get a picture of a late blackberry, not having had one for my earlier CAL post.

I hope you enjoyed this stroll round Southampton Common.

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CAL 22-24 In spite of having a cold!


I think that I feel quite pleased with the balance between the different colours. Whether, in the end, I can or will use them in the same blanket is another matter of course.

I aim to publish my ‘CAL’ posts on a Thursday but I didn’t think I was going to make it this week as I have had a bad cold. I made square 22 straight after the previous three as I was feeling in the mood but once I went down with the cold I found that I didn’t even feel up to working on the edge for my flower cloth still less a pattern I had to follow. But yesterday I was over the worst, but still not fully back to normal, and the only thing I did feel up to was sitting quiety and crocheting.

I also wanted to try out my new bifocal glasses that I had decided to buy for reducing the strain on my eyes when watching TV and crocheting or knitting at the same time. I hadn’t realised how much sub par my distance vision was. Suddenly the TV was so-oo sharp and I could read the display on the DVD recorder from where I was sitting. Looking aside at the ball of yarn was odd and I had to adjust the glasses to read the pattern on the side table but all in all the glasses are a definite ‘hit’.

So now for the squares. No flower pictures this week.

Square No. 22

I thought these colours would work well together and would have a pretty floral feel.

This square does stretch out into a square but I would have to pin it down to something to keep it that way. It was actually a lot more crumpled looking when I had first finished it.

The front post / back post business wasn’t too tricky once I got into it but I can’t quite decide whether it is a good thing to introduce into a pattern or not.

I like the finished look but it will need to be inserted in between squares that are firmly square I think.

Square No. 23

With this square I thought ‘leaves’ gently twining together.
It turned out larger than average, as I expected, since the foundation row had 33 dcs rather than the more common 27.

I find the foundation row tends to turn out larger than the final row I think this is because I work the foundation chain fairly loose so I know I can work into it easily. Hopefully when sewn in place this will adjust itself.

Square No. 24

Now I did get myself into a bit of a muddle with this one. I thought when it said ‘puff’ stitches it meant popcorns. Well I was recovering from the cold and the different stitch names are not fixed in my mind yet. (Excuses, excuses, 😉  )

I didn’t like it very much with the popcorns but when I looked closely at the picture part way through I realised that the stitches there looked quite different mine. So I undid what I had done in yellow and read up on how to do puff stitches.

In the end I think it is a very pleasant square to look at and a blanket made of these squares could be really lovely.

Only issue would be that I found it hard to pull the yarn through eight loops without catching it and having to redo the stitch, somethimes several times. I don’t know if anyone else had this problem or knows how to prevent it?

Crochet Christmas cards


These are really easy to make.

First you make the stars.

I always think six-pointed stars for Christmas cards as a reference to the six-pointed ‘Star of David’ as Jesus was a Jew and was born in the ‘City of David’.

(Pattern at the end in UK and US versions.)

I used Twilley’s Goldfingering in silver and gold and a 2mm hook.

I also bought folded A5 sheets of card and matching envelopes from ‘Paperchase’ in dark blue.

I cut myself a piece of white card A6 size and marked out a hexagon where I wanted the star to go and then placed it on top of the front of the unfolded card. Underneath I placed an odd piece of polystyrene that I had so I could stick the end of my compass through the points of the hexagon.

Originally I was going to cut a hole and fit the star in it, which is why I have the extra lines. All you need is a hexagon.

(Mine was marked out using a vertical central line to locate the centre of the circle and top and bottom points then the normal straight edge and compass way of drawing a hexagon using a radius of 1.5 inches, which seemed about right).

You need to pull the points on the star well to work out the correct diameter. The holes should be where the points are when stretched.

You then push a sharp pin, needle or compass point through the corners of the hexagon and remove the white card.

Then take a piece of sewing cotton; I found about 18 inches (45cm)  was a good length; and make a good knot on the end and thread through one of the holes.

You then make a small stitch into the back of one of the 3 chain points and thread the needle back through the same hole being careful not to go into the thread coming out of the hole.

Repeat this procedure for each hole in turn going round the hexagon. You then need to gently pull the cotton on the back and the points on the front till the points of the star hide the holes and the cotton at the back is taut.

Then turn over

and finish off the thread by doing several stitches as illustrated: first into the starting length by the knot to make the loop tight and then to the final length to secure the end.

If I had beautiful handwriting I might have done the words below the star with my gold and silver pens but as my handwriting is very uneven I bought peel off words at a craft shop.

I would have preferred two sheets the same as the silver one but there was not a lot of choice. The silver letters came off so easily but the gold ones were very tricky.

Finally I stuck a label on the back of the front of the card with instructions on removing the star after Christmas is over.

The card and the envelope together cost me 75p. The Goldfingering was £3.50 a ball and I think one ball will make about a dozen stars so say 30p a star. The lettering sheets were 89p each. So I think the cards should cost me a bit less than £1.20 each to make. I haven’t made them all yet but expect to do about two dozen.

Christmas Star patterns

UK version

Using Twilleys goldfingering in silver or gold and a 2.00mm hook.

Start: 6 ch loop.

Row 1: Working into the loop: 7ch (= 1dtr + 3ch), dc, 3ch, then repeat {dtr, 3ch, dc, 3ch} 5 times. Slst into 7ch loop at start.

Row 2: Repeat {6ch, slst into top of dtr) six times. Last slst is into slst of previous row.

Row 3: Repeat {4ch, tr into 6ch loop of previous row, 4ch, slst into slst of previous row.} six times.

Row 4: Repeat {6ch, dtr into top of tr on row below, 6ch, slst into slst of row below} six times.

Row 5: Repeat {dc under loops of rows 3 & 4, 5dc under loop of row 4 only, 3ch, 5dc under loop of row 4 only, dc under loops of row 3 & 4.} six times. Slst to fix final dc.

Pinch the 3ch at the tips of the points and pull hard. Sew in the ends

US version

Using Twilleys goldfingering in silver or gold and a 1/B hook.

Start: 6 ch loop.

Row 1: Working into the loop: 7ch (= 1trc + 3ch), sc, 3ch, then repeat {trc, 3ch, sc, 3ch} 5 times. Slst into 7ch loop at start.

Row 2: Repeat {6ch, slst into top of trc) six times. Last slst is into slst of previous row.

Row 3: Repeat {4ch, dc into 6ch loop of previous row, 4ch, slst into slst of previous row.} six times.

Row 4: Repeat {6ch, trc into top of dc on row below, 6ch, slst into slst of row below} six times.

Row 5: Repeat {sc under loops of rows 3 & 4, 5sc under loop of row 4 only, 3ch, 5sc under loop of row 4 only, sc under loops of row 3 & 4.} six times. Slst to fix final sc.

Pinch the 3ch at the tips of the points and pull hard. Sew in the ends.

*  *  *  *  *

As always please let me know if you find any mistakes.

CAL 19-21 Seventh week already!

Square No. 19

I didn’t have anything particular with which to associate this but I liked how it turned out. Made me think of misty mornings and trellis.

A bit of miss-counting and having to undo a row or so but nothing too drastic.

Square No. 20

When planning the colours for this one, I thought of a bed of these many coloured cabbages and cauliflowers that you can get these days.

Not a very good photo but the greengrocers had sold all the purple ones unfortunately and it was very dark as it’s pouring with rain and they were in the doorway so I had to be quick.

Now back to the crochet

I got the colours the wrong way round the first time, forgetting I was working from the back! and then I redid the first row of bobbles a couple of times more as I didn’t think they were perfect enough. 🙄 (I was being far too much of a perfectionist.) but at least it meant that by the time I settled into it I had a system for changing the colours. I used the ‘complete the previous stitch with the new colour’ method of introducing the bobble colour and then did the closing chain in the background colour which seemed to work best.

Like with the ‘baby blocks’ I had a lot of ends, I could have made them shorter but decided to be cautious. Here you can see the back with the ends of the top right bobble sewn in. I managed to do it quite neatly I thought!

I didn’t find it as bad as the chequerboard – ‘baby blocks’ one (no. 11) because you didn’t have to use the same colour more than once on each row and the extra colours were only used on one row at a time.

Square No. 21

I decided that this just had to be more rainbows!

I enjoyed working a square by decreasing better than the earlier increasing one (no. 15). It didn’t seem very ‘square’ when I had finished so it got a bit of stretching treatment. But as you can see it is still squiffy!

Size is still a strange thing as the bobble square was six inches wide after a couple of rows but seemed to get shrink as I did more. Still all three are about the same size so I am going to stop worrying.

Flower Cloth update

Life these days hasn’t been all about Rachel’s CAL.

Apart from the monthly challenge, I have also been working on my flower cloth.

And I have now finished the central part.

This will enlarge for a closer look

Because crochet is so stretchy it was surprisingly difficult to spread it out on the carpet so as to have it exactly square. However that was quite a good thing as it needed stretching to make it properly flat. (Maybe blocking is a good thing?).

When I planned the cloth originally and tried out the squares in DK yarn they came out at 4 inches square but when I got the cotton yarn, because it was a bit thinner although nominally DK, the squares were smaller so instead of being 36 inches the cloth is at present only 32 inches (but it was only 31.5 when I first spread it out!) so I may need to add more edging than I had planned but we will see.

Now for the Patterns

These are the patterns I devised for my Flower Cloth and I have added the hexagon I derived from the three colour twelve-fold flower square that I used for my peg bag.

I have also added them to the top menu.

In order to give a fairly firm finish, the treble groups are worked without the one chain links you find in granny squares but otherwise they have a lot in common with the granny square concept.

A Note about the charts:- I have used the international symbols for the stitches but I could not find one for the half double treble (UK) half treble (US) so I invented my own.

As I have provided charts the patterns are only in UK crochet terms.

As a guide to size: I used a 4.5mm hook and Rico Essentials Cotton DK for my flower cloth. When I had used DK acrylic yarn and a 4.5mm hook the squares came out at about 4 inches but were slightly smaller with the cotton yarn.

Twelve-fold flowers

A: three colour

B: Two colour

Start: First chain 4 and join to form a ring. (Or use the magic loop if you prefer.)

Row 1: Ch3 to count as first tr then work a further 11tr into the ring. Join with a slst (12sts)

Row 2: Join new colour and pull between trs of previous row. Next ch3, to count as 1st tr, tr into same space then continue working 2tr into spaces between each tr in previous rnd. Join with slst (24 sts)

‘A’ rows give the larger three colour flowers.

Row 3A: Join new colour and pull yarn between the two trebles of pairs on previous row, ch3, to count as 1st tr and work 2tr into same space, then work 3tr into every 2nd space. Join with slst. (36 sts)

Row 4A: Join background colour and work as 4B.

‘B’ rows give the smaller two colour flowers.

Row 3B: Join background colour and pull yarn between the treble pairs on previous row, ch3 to count as 1st tr and work 2tr into same space, work 3tr into every 2nd dc space. Join with slst. (36 sts)

Row 4B: Bring the yarn up in one of the spaces between treble groups and ch3 (counts as 1tr), 2tr into same space. Now for a corner, so into next space, (2hdtr, 1dtr, ch2, 1dtr, 2hdtr) [I use double trebles because the circle needs the extra space for a corner.] 3tr into each of next two spaces, then repeat corner sequence. Now, continue around the circle in a similar way to a granny square, just using the hdtr, dtr sequence in the corners and no 1ch between clusters.

Row 5: Work in a similar way to a granny square, starting in the middle of a side, but without the 1ch between 3 treble groups on the sides. Keep the 2ch in the corners.

Eight-fold flowers

Start: First chain 4 and join to form a ring. (Or use the magic loop if you prefer.)

Row 1 : Ch2 , then work 1tr into the ring (making 1st bobble), ch1; ( 1 bobble stitch, ch1) x 7. Join with a slst.

Row 2 : Join new colour and pull through a space between bobbles ch3 (counts as 1 tr), 2tr into the same space, ch1. Continuing to work into spaces between bobbles, (3tr, ch1)x 7. Join with a slst.

Row 3 : Join background colour and working into the spaces – ch3 (counts as 1tr) 2tr into the same space. Then into next space (2hdtr, 1dtr, ch2, 1dtr, 2hdtr) for ‘corner’. Alternate 3tr groups and corners into following 6 spaces then join with slst.

Row 4: Ch3 (counts as 1tr), 2tr into same space. Now continue around the circle in a similar way to a granny square but without the 1ch between 3 treble groups on the sides. Keep the 2ch in the corners. Join with a sl st.

Row 5: Work granny square wise as Row 4. Join with a sl st.

As you can see here if you use only as far as the row with the (2hdtr, 1dtr, ch2, 1dtr, 2hdtr) corners you can get a little mini square which is also attractive.

(This applies to the twelve-fold flowers too.)

Hexagon

First three rows as twelve-fold three colour flower rows. Note the difference between 3A and 3B this is what gives the starlike quality to the second row.

Row 4: Join new colour and pull through space between treble groups, 3ch, 2tr into space. Then work a corner = 3tr, 2ch, 3tr into next space. Alternate 3tr groups and corners into spaces as in the chart and join with a slst.

If you find any typos or mistakes in the patterns please let me know and if you use them I would love to see what you made.

CAL 16-18 It’s getting better all the time!

I enjoyed making these a whole lot more.

Square No. 16

Of course this is already a waterlily square.

So I made the petals in pink.

I do feel that the pattern was unnecessarily tricky and that it would have been easy to insert a slipstitch on the petal rows to save having to find stitches two rows back. In order to be sure I was stitching in the right place I employed these

that I have bought to one day make crochet stitch markers.

Square No. 17

If I want to relate this to anything I think it would have to be blackberries and from my archive this is the nearest I have got to a photgraph of blackberries!

I used Rachel’s extra chain to close the bobbles this time and it does make the following row easier.

Square No. 18

I resisted the temptation to make this using my favourite method of making granny squares and followed the pattern. Choosing colours to make it into a generic flower.

The next three squares look interesting. I think I should enjoy making them. Though no. 20 should mean lots of ends to finish off.

In her first post Rachel asked if people had any resolutions in relation to the CAL.

Well I don’t have any resolutions exactly but I am aquiring a system.

  • Finish off the ends when this week’s three squares have been completed.
  • If the square is too curly pin it to a chair cover for a few days and hope it flattens/straightens out a bit.
  • If the right side is not obvious work it out and then attach a pin to that side so you don’t forget.
  • Pack squares in sixes inside little resealable bags to keep them flat and clean.

A bit of a boost and a puzzle

Taking part in the CAL has made me question whether I can really compete (in an ability sense) with all these other crocheters who are taking part because I feel I have only really been crocheting since I retired.

But some days ago I found a few things that I made years ago, but had forgotten, that show that that maybe I know more than I think.

There is this trial square that I made from whatever odd bits of yarn I had to see if I liked the motif for a blanket that I found in a magazine. Which shows I have done popcorn stitches before.

I decided that it might have looked good in the picture (all in cream I think) but in the hand it was too big and too floppy.

And then there is the first half of a tea-cosy which is all over bobbles. So I have met them before!

This was again made from leftover yarn and I realised half way that I wouldn’t have enough to finish it.

The above must have been made about twenty years ago.

And lastly there is the first piece of crochet that I ever did. Discoloured now and I can see that my tension tightens up as I went along

but I am still pleasantly surprised that I could crochet even that well fifty years ago.

I also got a boost from being able to hang the washing out and use my new peg bag. It’s been so wet lately.

There was more washing but I hang jumpers indoors. And, yes, the passion flower is taking over the garden and will have to be severely pruned that will probably kill it but at least will let the lavatera grow further back.

But now the puzzle

I was given a whole bag of yarn the other day. I was told it contained tapestry wool, which it did.

And I may get round to using it in a few months time if I can fit it in.
But
there were also all these bundles of cut yarn. The pieces are about 30 inches, (75cm) in length.

Can anyone suggest a use for this? Or should I just chuck it in the bin?

Wanna win this?!!

Just discovered how to reblog things! Why not enter the ‘Made it Challenge’ this month!

woolhogs

rainbow junkie

 

 

 “2 x 50g of Sirdar Crofter DK yarn (acrylic, cotton & wool) & some pretty buttons”

 

OF COURSE YOU DO!!!!

A massive thank you to the lovely Rainbow Junkie for donating the prize for October’s Made It challenge!

All you have to do to be in with a chance to win this gorgeous prize is to:

  • enter this months Made It challenge (you know this but I LOVE lists!)
  • reblog this post – not compulsory of course, but always great to get more people involved
  • um….oh, that’s all!

Good luck, can’t wait to see what you got!

****Click on the photo or Froggy to submit your entry****

made it challenge

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September Montage

Better late than never!

Here is my montage for September.

What happened?

Well, I wrote a post about my grandaughter’s visit in August when we did all sorts of crafty things;  I chose my ‘cottage garden’ colours for Rachel’s CAL and made twelve of the squares;  I visited the Submarine museum in Gosport with the family; I visited an amazing church in Lyndhurst and ‘the blue jumper’ exhibition in Southampton and made a crochet hexagon peg bag (which actually involved sewing!) for the Monthly Challenge. I was also awarded the Beautiful Blogger Award and the Wonderful Team Member Readership Award and passed them on to other people.

CAL 13-15 Size matters!

These squares could be subtitled: Sunflower, Marigold, Rainbow, in as far as my colour palette allows.

Square No. 13

I decided to crochet the first two rows in the same colour as I preferred the look and it was consistent with it being my ‘sunflower’ square.

Now to the issue of size

When the squares turn out the wrong size I tend to blame myself for not crocheting at a consistent tension but with this one I am not sure as the last row only has 27 dcs while with the ones that start at an edge it is often 31.

Anyway, when I finished this one it was only about five and a half inches square instead of just under six which was the norm (except for no. 1 and 11).

I wasn’t sure whether to undo it and try again with a larger hook or to add an extra row. In the end I added an extra row in the dark blue and liked it all the better for it. But is it still a little small?

Square No. 14

This was my Marigold square if only for the colour.

After the size issue with the previous square I measured it after the first two or three rows and decided that it too was set to be only five and a half inches so I undid it and changed to the 4.5mm hook that I normally prefer because I tend to think that I crochet tighter than other people. This brought it just under six inches so similar to most other squares, though maybe still on the small size.

Square No. 15

I know this has only six colours not seven and rainbows are red not pink but it is still my ‘rainbow’ square. I can see there will be others too!

Of course after all the above I was very anxious about what would happen to the size of this square but I started with the 4mm hook and lo and behold! it came out the default size so I was pleased.

Still not sure if it’s me or the patterns that make the squares inconsistent but I like these three squares and they will have a place in the final blanket.

Since I have now finished all the loose ends, I have taken new pictures.

I keep worrying about the relative sizes but maybe they will work out?