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?


the blue jumper

Several weeks ago I turned up at my knit and natter group – ‘a crafty coffee’ to find that something unusual was happening. A local artist called Sarah Fulmer had brought her art project that she describes as “an ongoing community knitting project” and was asking us to participate.

At the time I didn’t think to take any pictures but on Thursday I went to see ‘the blue jumper’ exhibited in the Bargate Monument Gallery, Southampton and this time I took lots of pictures which I would like to share with you.

This is how Sarah describes the inspiration behind her project:-

“my mum died in dec 2006. three and a half years later, as my degree show piece, i made a film called ‘unravel’. it is the story of a blue jumper of mum’s that we gave to the southampton working women’s project, and which i later saw worn by a street working woman. there are scenes of a blue jumper unravelling within the film – the metaphor evident to anyone who has lost a mum. it is a piece of work of which i am very proud. and it stands alone …. but the journey has continued. the me who unravelled when i lost my mum, is re-knitting her self. the desktop folder holding the work for the blue jumper is titled ‘ravel’.”

The film ‘unravel’ which last about 5-10 minutes was shown on a loop in a small room to the side as you go in.

The blue jumper is still being worked on as you can see in this photograph.

And below is the piece that I added to the work. The rules of the project were that you could knit (or even crochet) any way you liked but the wool had to be blue. Wool and needles were provided. As a rainbow junkie of course I couldn’t be satisfied with just one colour so I chose to knit with a mixture of turquoise and royal blue, gradually increasing till I had a useable width, knitting a central stocking stitch section with a series of holes half way and then ending up with knitting stitches in alternate colours before the time came to finish. I felt I could have gone on all day!

The names of all the people who have participated in the project have been written around the wall by Sarah. I went looking for the part that included my name.

We had also been given a postcard and asked to write what knitting meant to us. These postcards were pilled up in the window alcoves for people to read. You can see someone doing just that here:-

At the end of the hall was a screen showing a very long piece of film of different people who had worked on the project knitting.

Here you can see Sarah Filmer (on the right) talking to one of the people knitting on the project at the exhibition.

You can see more about the blue jumper HERE on Sarah’s website and BLOG

The exhibition is on till the 14th October (open Wed-Sun 12-5 pm) , why not go along!

CAL 10-12 Not very exciting!

This is a composite picture so it doesn’t show the relative size of the squares.


The first squares that I could make while watching TV


Square No. 10

I started this square while sitting in the garden in what was probably the last of the summer sun.

I realised that the corner granny square had showed me that being relaxed made the stitches bigger so I decided to be much more relaxed in my crocheting in the hope that the square would thus end up a full 6 inches instead of a little below.

I came in half way through and picked up my tape measure only to discover that the square was 7 inches wide and likely to be the same high if I continued. So I decided this had been a failed experiment, undid all the stitches and went back to my normal crochet style.

Perhaps I should be content with just under 6 inches.

Square No. 11

I hated this square even before I started it, maybe it was the colours in the book but I didn’t think I’d really like it in any colours. It also takes about twice as long to make and is wasteful of yarn with all the changes.

I started it three times.

  • Firstly I made it the way it said at the back of the book with the yarn trailing across the back and I had only done two rows of squares when I decided that the back looked messy and that if it was made into a blanket it would be easy to catch on things.
  • The second time I got about half-way when I realised that there was something wrong with the corner between the first row and the foundation row and, much as I hated making it, I was too much of a perfectionist not to have to start again.
  • This final attempt by the time I had got to the beginning of the sixth row I had worked out the best way to approach each row and was finishing the ends as I went.  However I still only continued it by sheer will power and having an F1 Grand Prix to watch as a distraction! 😉

I knew early on that it would be the smallest of the squares at only 5.5 inches but I think I want to use it for something other than the finished blanket anyway.

In fact I can see that there are a few squares I would miss out if it was just down to me. Maybe they would go for a cushion or something because I think they are all solid squares made with just dcs.

Square No. 12

With this square I don’t like the fact that it is close to symmetrical without actually being symmetrical and I would have made it symmetrical except for the fact that I realised that the thin lines had to be created on even rows and so that was not possible. I did at least keep the colours symmetrical.


With my peg bag out of the way, I have finaly got around to finishing the ends on all the squares and will try to do this as I go from now on.

For those who like churches

A friend and I had been planning to go to Lyndhurst, in the middle of the New Forest, for a picnic ever since the early spring but with limited mutual availability of days and the un-seasonal weather it wasn’t until last Wednesday that we actually managed it.

I took my camera and although I didn’t bother to take pictures of the actual picnic, I did take some pictures in a very striking church in Lyndhurst: St Michaels and All Angels.

They were having a mother and toddler group at the back of the church at the time or I might have taken more pictures but I thought I would like to share these with you.
The first thing that struck me was the pulpit.

And then this view of a pillar.and the church beyond. You can see the mother and toddler group in the background.

Around the roof were wooden angels each playing a different musical instrument.

And behind the altar a large fresco of the wise and foolish virgins by Frederick Leighton (later to become Lord Leighton and president of the Royal Academy of Art).

This will enlarge so you can have a closer look

And round the corner this painting by a woman (I can’t remember her name) who was influenced by the Pre Raphaelites.

Unfortunately the stained glass windows did not photograph very well

and with the mother and toddler group we were a bit limited in our movement round the church. But there is more about the church here.

Outside I stopped to take a picture of

The grave of
Mrs Reginald Hargreaves
The Alice in Lewis Carroll’s
Alice in Wonderland

Monthly Challenge – Peg Bag

The pattern and a chart for the hexagons used in this project are now available HERE

I decided to make this as the Monthly Challenge as I thought that was probably the only way I would get it done as I have been planning it for a few months now and am getting fed up of managing with plastic carrier bags. However it has taken rather longer than I anticipated and I’ve had to rush it a bit.

Back story

Years and years ago – maybe 25 – my son made me a ‘Knight Rider’ peg bag in school.

It was made from hessian and had the words ‘KNIGHT RIDER PEG BAG’ embroidered on it as well as a picture of a car.

It was especially useful as it could be worn round the neck and had two separate compartments for pegs thus allowing me to separate the strong pegs from the weaker ones.

About eight to ten years ago it was beginning to fall to bits so I bought some hessian and made a similar bag as a replacement. This hessian however must be an inferior fabric as it started to split a few months ago and became unuseable.

Ever since then it has been my intention to make a replacement and since I am now into crochet, I had the bright idea of making the outside from crochet hexagons and the inside from some old cotton polo necks that I can no longer wear except under jumpers.

And now, at last, I have got around to making it.

I am using some of the wool that was left over from my hexagon blanket but have decided to use my own hexagon pattern that is based on the one I used for the three colour 12-fold flower squares for my flower cloth.

The original hexagon pattern makes more of a lay-flat stay-flat hexagon but mine have the advantage of being quicker to make as they only have the four visible rows instead of having an extra row like the original ones. They also only use trebles (US dcs) worked into gaps not stitches.

I also like them because the rows work out pointier so they look more like flowers.

Original blanket hexagons ————— My more pointy ones

I had made a bag with hexagons for my daughter as practice for the blanket.

But I found a plan on the internet for a bag that used the hexagons the other way round which gave square corners and so was more suitable for this project. By printing two copies and cutting and sticking with sellotape I was able to make a plan for the peg bag in order to know how many hexagons to make and where to join them.

I was using up the oddments left from the blanket so this governed my colour choices for the hexagons to a certain extent. Also, as I was trying to make it quickly, I did not plan the colours as much as I had before but I did try to make them vaguely random and all different.

When the hexagons were joined together the pegbag looked like this:-

Front and back

and the reverse.


I then found my old cotton polo neck that is surplus to requirements and cut out two pieces to make a lining, utilising the hems in my design.

Got out my old sewing machine my mother passed on to me.

Sewed the two pieces together and then sewed side seams

(the seams came out surprisingly straight for me)

and created a lining.

I fitted the lining inside the crochet part and joined it along the edges, tucking the top hexagons inside to make access to the pegs easy.

I have suspended my previous peg bags round my neck by using a cut down wire hanger to hold the middle flat and adding a piece of string or tape. This time I decided to go for something that would hopefully prove both more elegant and more satisfactory.

So I found a piece of thin dowel from my collection of bits of wood left from earlier projects, cut a suitable length and crocheted a circular band.

I attached a length of tape I had used for the last peg bag to the dowel so as to stop the strap stretching.

I wrapped the dowel and tape in the crochet band finished the band and stitched it closed, suspended the peg bag on the dowel and sewed in place.

Here it is all ready to go!

CAL 7-9 Oh! orange at last

Square No. 7

I decided it was about time I introduced some orange so I made the middle like a little orange flower.

I wasn’t sure that I liked having the granny part off centre but it was relatively easy to do.

Only issue was that I started the square very carefully almost nervously and then said to myself ‘Jane! What are you worrying about? You know how to make granny squares.’ I then relaxed but when I had finished row two, I realised that the first corner was smaller than the others, so I had to undo it and redo the row. Presumably this was because I was being too careful and making the stitches too firm. However everything was fine after this. I presume the square will get more ‘square’ when fitted between others.

Square No. 8

Again it was row two that I had an issue with. I didn’t seem able at first to get my head round what was required and had to redo it several times before it ‘clicked’.

If you want to think ‘flowers’ maybe it should be Hydrangeas.

Square No. 9

The edge insists on waving unless I pin it down.

Here the flowers that inspired the colours (as far as my palette allowed) were the Passion flowers in my garden.

Another award! – Beautiful Blogger

I have been nominated for this award by Lisa of
So thank you very much to Lisa and do go and visit her blog and see all that she’s been up to.

The rules of this award are:-

  1. Copy the Beautiful Blogger Award into your blog.
  2. Write something about the blogger who nominated you and link back to their blog.
  3. Write 7 things about yourself.
  4. Nominate seven other bloggers for the award too.

Done 1.

Now 2.

I don’t feel I know Lisa very well but she seems to be a fun person and she has a gorgeous looking dog called Bear and takes lovely photographs of flowers and nature as well as ones to illustrate her posts. She knits and crochets and bakes among other things.

3. About myself.

  1. I never thought I would colour my hair when I went grey but a few months ago I decided to try having it copper coloured as I have always wanted to be this colour and I love it.
  2. I love being a mother and grandmother and knew I wanted to be a mother from the age of four.
  3. I knew I wanted to get involved with computers from the age of 16 (1963) and my first job did involve computers.
  4. I have always been rather shy and anxious but since I’ve started blogging and going to ‘a crafty coffee’ creative group I seem to have lots of friends.
  5. I love cooking especially making cakes and cookies.
  6. I always like to have a fiction book on the go and seem to be reading a lot of murder mysteries lately.
  7. I also like science fiction and some fantasy like the Anne McCaffery dragon books.

4. Nominating other bloggers.

I have sort of agonised about whether I should give this award to different people than I chose for the Wonderful Team Member Readership Award but I chose those people mostly for their reading skills and this one is about being a beautiful blogger so I am nominating the following seven people because they are among the people that I feel I know best and they are all beautiful people and have great blogs.

I omitted anyone who appeared to have already received this award.

  1. Maryanne
  2. cute as a button
  3. Nice piece of work
  4. Rachell
  5. Patch
  6. Green Dragonfly
  7. Daniella Joe

Wonderful Team Member Readership Award

Daniella Joe has nominated me for the  ‘Wonderful Team Member Readership Award’. Yeh! another award, isn’t that so kind of her.

According to her post the rules for the Wonderful Team Member Readership Award are:

  1. The Nominee of the Wonderful Team member Readership Award shall display the logo on his/her blog.
  2. The Nominee shall nominate 14 readers they appreciate over a period of 7 days, all at once or little by little.
  3. The Nominee shall name his/her Wonderful Team Member Readership Award nominees on a post or on posts during 7 days.

As always fourteen is a lot of people but as this appears to be a relatively new award hopefully most of the people I would want to choose have not been awarded this award before.

I think that the award is supposed to appreciate the reading of blogs as well as the writing so I am trying to chose people who show both these attributes.

The people I have chosen, in no particular order, are:-

I decided to nominate all fourteen people at once because later in the week I want to concentrate on my next three squares for the CAL and after that I might just manage my entry for the Monthly Challenge. 🙂

CAL 4-6 Bringing on the blues!

I have decided to photograph all my squares against a piece of card with a six inch square drawn on it to keep check of the relative sizes.

It would appear that the squares are if anything getting smaller.

Whether that is my fault or down to the patterns, I am not sure. When edged and joined together they will probably all stretch to fit.

Now a closer look

Square No. 4

This square I have called Canterbury Bells. I am not sure I can find flower attributions for all the squares but I am enjoying it where I can.

Square No.5

I have not given this square a title but it was a very pleasant square to work and made me think that the pattern could be used for a blanket as a stylish variant to the Granny Ripple.

Square No. 6

This square was already called Textured Bluebells so I made it in the deeper of my two blues.

Submarines and supper but no cake!

At last I find time to tell you about our second trip to Portsmouth and the Historic Dockyard on Saturday 1st Sepember.
We parked the car in Portsmouth but decided that we would start by visiting the Submarine museum. This meant going over to Gosport. Since the journey was much cheaper and quicker that way, we took the local ferry.

We looked at many of the interactive exhibits then went on a guided tour of HMS Alliance which was commissioned in 1947 and were told how during the cold war our guide and fellow submariners were ‘naughty boys’ and took their submarine places that they shouldn’t have been.

Just some of the controls
Crew accommodation

We had a few demonstrations of what it would have been like to be in the submarine during different procedures

and a little girl helped to re-enact starting the engines.

We then went and saw Holland 1: first commissioned in 1901, the Royal Navy’s first submarine.

and another smaller submarine which had had a crew of only four people. There was talk of stealing her had we been nearer the water but I didn’t get voted as part of the crew!

There was so much more that I did not photograph as I was too busy taking it all in. (And it was rather dark). There were videos about past triumphs of submarine warfare and examples of ‘jolly roger’ flags that showed the successes of different submarine crews in past conflicts.

I don’t think we had realised how much there was to see so by the time we headed back to the ferry terminal the afternoon was well on.

We took the short trip back to Portsmouth.

By now it was clear that we would have to come back another day and that this would be the nearest we would get to HMS Warrior that day.

To my daughter’s great disappointment it was 1650 by the time we arrived back at the Historic Dockyard.

She doesn’t want a ‘cream tea’  apparently but ‘cake’ at The Georgian Tearooms and they shup at 1700.

Yet another reason to come back.

However the day was not over. We had only had a light lunch at the submarine museum and my offer to make everyone supper was refused, so we went down to the centre of Southampton to find a suitable restaurant.

We ended up at a Turkish one, below Bar, in the High Street.

The waiter offered to take a picture so here we all are:-

We had hot and cold tapas to start.

And then various other things for the main course.

It was dark by the time they took me home and collected Louisa’s luggage. I think a little girl must have got to bed very late that evening.