Snowflake wreath

As I promised on Thursday here is the item for which I made the snowflakes and the angel:-

And this is how I made it.

I was going to buy one of those polystyrene rings that you can buy in craft shops but then a few days ago I found an odd piece of pipe insulation lying on the edge of my property and decided that it would make an excellent basis for the wreath. The circumference of the pipe insulation was 10 cm so I bought 20cm of royal blue felt and cut a long piece of elastic.

I threaded the elastic through the piece of pipe insulation and tied it firmly, then added a short piece of dowel,  to keep the ends aligned and wound round a piece of sticky tape to hold the ends together while I covered it with the felt.

I cut an 11cm strip off the felt and tacked the ends together so I could check that it fitted snuggly round the ring. (I actually placed the join towards the bottom of the final wreath at about a ‘four o’clock’ position so there would be no strain on it, with the seam at the top to be covered up when it was suspended.)

Then I stitched and trimmed the seam and fitted and pinned the felt round the ring

before sewing it together at the back with some invisible thread that I had bought for the purpose.

You can see from my stitches why I don’t do this sort of thing very often.

I then made some more silver snowflakes and three with some #20 white crochet cotton that I had.

I felt that the wreath needed something to wind round it and toyed with a few ideas but ended up crocheting a long chain using both the silver thread and #20 crochet cotton.

I wound it round the ring and tied the ends together at the bottom in a bow.

Finally, I sewed on the snowflakes, again using the invisible thread, and suspended the angel in the centre.

Have you been making any new decorations this year?

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CAL 43-45 Lost in action!

The action I mean is making things for Christmas.

I have not made any more squares this week because I have been wanting to get on with other things.

I have been making these that I showed you on Monday – HERE

Samples

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PRESENTS

No picture for these 🙂

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Some of my real snowflakes in silver but I need more

Silver snowflakes

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And this crochet angel

Crochet angel

I found the pattern for this HERE but I found what seemed on my reading to be a couple of mistakes.

When making the body you do need to make five picots to be the fingers. The pattern seemed to be written only for four. (And yeh! I have worked out how to make acceptable picots).

When making the wings there should be two dcs (US teminology) (UK = trebles) into the same stitch at each end of the rows even where on one row it only mentions one.

The angel in the pattern is made on #10 crochet cotton but I only had #20 cotton and anyway I wanted it fairly small so that is what I used.

Next Monday I hope to be able to show you what I needed the snowflakes and the angel for.

Decorations children can make, favourites and some ideas.

When my children were at school someone came home with this as an idea for making Christmas decorations for the tree. They were really easy to make so I thought I would share them with you.

Now if you are older and a bit more dexterous and love snowflakes and hexagons and all six-fold things as my elder daughter does, since she shares many of my enthusiasms, then you decide to make them like this.

These are all left from the ones we made years ago.

You can maybe see how to make them but I will include some instructions anyway.

All you need are cocktails sticks and some spare yarn. It’s a good way to use up those tiny oddments that are too small to do anything with.

You cross the two (or three) cocktail sticks together, tie the yarn to one of them near the crossing point then wind round and round going over and under each of the arms in turn and keeping the yarn taut but not so much that it distorts the shape. When you want to change colour, just tie on a new piece and pull the knot to the back so it gets hidden.

I hope this shows how to wind the yarn round.

And how it looks on the reverse. I have wound round the initial tail and then cut off what shows.

Tie the yarn through itself round one of the arms to finish. Tying it twice probably makes it more secure.

If you have some gold yarn left from making stars for Christmas cards 🙂 you can include that.

And this is the reverse before the ends have been trimmed.

I made this fairly quickly. With a little more time it can be even neater. It is easier if you cut off the ends as you go.

And here are a few more samples. I think the rainbow one is a bit irregular because I undid some bits I had crocheted to use the thread.

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I thought I would also share with you some of my favourite tree decorations.

There are these that my eldest daughter bought me at different times.

As you can see the one on the left is larger than the normal tree ornament. It is an imitation snowball covered with down and is getting a little past its best but I love it.

The other is a tiny glass angel. and I decided to give you a closer look as it doesn’t show up very well in the other photograph.

Here are some wooden decorations. The one on the left was a present from a friend but the others were carefully chosen by me. The middle two come from a Christmas Market in Aachen, Germany and the one on the right from Bethlehem.

I am also very fond of these.

The ball I have had a long time and I think it came from John Lewis in London, and I love it for the rainbow colours that shimmer inside but don’t show very well in the photograph. The other I bought in Southampton a year or two ago from a stall in the precinct. They had lots and lots of similar ones and I bought this one because blue is my favourite colour.

Now we move on to some that I think have creative possibilities.

0090-craftpossibilities

These are both made from wire but offer possibilities for being copied. The one on the right could maybe be made with a wire star shape and yarn wound round it with added beads or buttons. I might try something next year.

And these I bought on Saturday in Paperchase for £6.

I thought I could use them to work out some suitable crochet patterns and make some for next year.

CAL 40-42 Are mistakes creeping in?

Not my mistakes, though there enough of those.  However I hope I correct most of them before I finish the squares.

I mean mistakes in the Jan Eaton Book.

Take square 41 for instance: when I looked at the pattern my guess was that the first bobble would be on the far right. In the photo, however, it appeared to be on the left so I was full of self-doubt.

When I made the square I was relieved to find I was right. But this means that the photo has the last row at the bottom and not at the top as it does in all the other pictures.

Not a big mistake and maybe someone liked the look of it better that way round.

But with square 42 there really was a mistake in the pattern in my opinion.

I was surprised that the middle of the sides for rows 6 & 7 consisted of dc, 3ch rather than tr, 3ch, especially the way the picture looked. But being the sort of person I am, I followed the pattern religiously and came out with this:-

Even stretching it didn’t seem to help, so I went with my opinion and remade it with trebles instead of the double crochets in the last two rows, as you will see further down.

Square No. 40

From previous experience I decided to make the ‘flower’ in a stronger colour so that it would show up and was pleased with the result.

I think I have given up naming all the flowers, since most flowers tend to have five or six petals rather than eight. Though of course five would be hard to work easily into a square design.

I like this square and I am used to working ‘granny’ type patterns, though I still get the wrong number of trebles in a group sometimes. “Please don’t tell me you can see a mistake! 🙂 ”

Square No. 41

I actually worked this last as I expected it to be fairly straighforward which it was. Not much to say really, except what I refer to above about the fact that, with the first row at the bottom, the bobble triangle points to the left. This is how I have photographed it.

089-41

Square No. 42

0089-42

As you can see this square looks much better like this.

I kept to similar colours to the picture because I liked the look of the original.

Square No. 36 redone

I have also managed to find time to redo square no. 36 – the one with the htr rows.

0089-36

It’s amazing what a difference feeling confident and knowing what you are doing can make. I even got the colours the right way round this time.

It would look even better if stretched to look properly square.

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And I will leave you with a photograph of all the squares that I have completed up to now.

This does enlarge
This does enlarge

I did take a little time to make a harmonious arrangement and the seven squares on the bottom row are the ones most likely to be omitted from the final blanket and used for a cushion or something.

Mobile pattern challenge

This post is not about a moving pattern or a pattern related to a mobile phone but a pattern for one of those decorative objects that people hang over baby’s cots and in other places.

0088-pictureofmobile
This will enlarge so you can have a closer look

It all started when a crafting group friend showed me the piece of paper you can see to your left and said something along the lines of  “You’re good at crochet! I’d like you to make me a pattern.”

(She had inherited the page shown from her mother and it had obviously been saved for the instructions on the reverse showing how to make various crochet stitches.)

Well, I must admit that my first reaction was to be a bit taken aback, but I always like a challenge so I said that I would see what I could do.

I went home, got out my magnifying glass and some scrap variegated yarn that was maybe four-ply and tried out a few ideas.

As you can see if you look closely there are instructions for the yarn to use, the hook size, the tension and the first two rows for the balloon. (All in US terms.)

I ignored the bit about the tension and just got going on the balloon.

I realised after a bit that the main body of the balloon was hdc (UK – htr) and after that it was fairly plain sailing. 😉

This was my first attempt at the balloon and basket.

First attempt at balloon

I decided that the bottom of the balloon was too narrow and re-wrote the pattern.

I couldn’t decide what size the balloons were in the picture and of course with a thing like this, size is a relative matter.  Interestingly, though, when I came to consider the tension given in the original sheet I realised that it was actually about the same as that I obtain when making the squares for the CAL with DK yarn and a 4mm hook (US – Worsted weight, 6 hook (or betwen F & G according to my conversion chart)).

So I made another balloon and basket with DK yarn and a 4mm hook and got this:-

New balloon and basket

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Up to now I had kept strictly to what I could see in the picture without any personal considerations.

However when it came to the clouds, not only could I not see clearly enough to copy them but I didn’t actually like them and thought I could do better.

I showed my friend my first attempt without any stuffing and she thought that it was a little on the large side so I made a smaller version by replacing the htr (US hdc) with dcs (US scs) and stuffed it.

Here is the smaller version with the balloon. I think it is smaller than the clouds in the picture but that it looks quite cute.

Cloud and balloon

I rather enjoyed making the cloud and was pleased with how it turned out. I think that I am developing an intuitive feel for how to shape an item, which will be useful if I ever get round to making some amigurumi type figures.

Here is a comparison between the cloud made with dcs (US scs) and htrs (US hdcs).

Two clouds and balloon

I think that the hardest part to work out was the blue circle at the top. I am not sure if what I have put in the pattern is the correct way to do it.

I am going to include the pattern in the ‘MY PATTERNS’ section of the menu at the top just in case anyone fancies giving it a try.

November Montage

In November I finally finished my flower cloth by completing the edging which enabled me to share with you the genesis of the granny ripple and to start my granny ripple blanket. I haven’t got much further than that, as Christmas is coming fast and I have had to transfer my attention to other things.

Of course about a third of my crochet time is taken up with the CAL and I finished another fifteen squares in November.

I mananged to also fit in a peek at the chocolate cakes I made, some new yarn and the Liebster award.

I do enjoy being able to see what I have achieved in a month and find it a uselful reference if I can’t remember when I was working on any particular project.

CAL 37-39 Is this getting boring?

I do wonder sometimes if most of my followers don’t find my weekly CAL post a bit boring. I am not bored of course; I am really enjoying the CAL and happy reviewing my progress.

I did find the first of this week’s squares a little boring however.

Square No. 37

And even in my chosen colours I am not especially enthralled; maybe other peoples choices will be more exciting.

Square No. 38

Now this square I like a lot more.

I decided that with it called dahlia square that the colour in my selection that most said ‘dahlia’ to me was yellow.

I think it would actually make quite a good centre square for the blanket and might end up using it that way.

I am not sure I have been making the popcorns 100% correctly but they end up looking the same so that’s okay for now as far as I am concerned.

It appeared to come out much smaller than no. 36 but actually I found it would stretch to be the same size so hopefully it will be right in the end.

Square No. 39

Who is Gavin I wonder?

This square has an interesting texture that I like to look at but did not find so easy to work as I was always afraid I was maybe choosing the wrong stitch to work into.

I chose the colours to be a sort of landsacape with grass at the bottom and sky at the top and rows of flowers (or maybe in some cases water) inbetween.

I was actually more pleased with the result than I expected to be which was a nice surprise.

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I have been finding the recent dull weather a great strain as it has made taking the photographs very difficult. Today, however, I found a solution. I am using my SAD lamp and it gives a very good light to take the pictures by as you can see above.

I have only recently bought the SAD lamp.

I spent last winter never feeling fully awake and wanting nothing more than to hibernate so I decided that I couldn’t stand another winter like that and would have to try something. And I must say that the SAD lamp has worked a treat and I actually feel more energetic than I did through our long dark summer.  🙂

Liebster Award

Patricia over at DaniellaJoe has very kindly nominated me for the Liebster Blog Award, so very many thanks to her. And I recommend you to go over and check out her very creative crocheting.

As a recipient of the award here’s what I have to do:

Post 11 random facts about myself and answer 11 questions from the person who nominated me and nominate 11 blogs for the award:

Posting 11 random facts

  1.  I am sixty-five years old.
  2. My favourite colour is blue.
  3. I have three children and four grandchildren.
  4. If I had a pet it would have to be a cat.
  5. I have a BSc Hons in Mathematics.
  6. I was born in Singapore.
  7. I have always been creative but I have only taken up knitting and crochet creatively these last few years.
  8. Both my parents came from Wales
  9. I love cooking.
  10. I love walking in the countryside.
  11. I would be lost without my computer.

Answering 11 questions

I am presuming that the questions I have to answer are the same as Patricia answered.

1.  What are you most proud of? Not sure I am confident enough to feel proud of anything.

2.  What makes you happy? Sunshine and rainbows.

3.  What is your most prized possession? Probably an aquamarine ring that belonged to my mother.

4.  What are you afraid of? too many things.

5.  Why do you blog?  to share with others.

6.  How would you describe your style? Style? What style?

7.  What are you most grateful for? every new day.

8.  What is the best book you have ever read? The Count of Monte Christo by Alexander Dumas is one of them.

9.  What food do you hate? I don’t hate any food.

10. What is your favorite “guilty pleasure” aka “super dorky” song? If it makes you feel guilty it can hardly be a pleasure.

11. What is your favorite holiday? I suppose it would need to include sea, mountains and some old castles or churches.

I would like to alter the questions for those to whom I am giving this award to the following:-

  1. Why did you start a blog?
  2. How many blogs do you follow?
  3. What makes you happy?
  4. What are you most grateful for?
  5. What is your favourite food?
  6. What sort of weather do you like best?
  7. Which famous person would you most like to meet?
  8. Where would you most like to go for a holiday?
  9. What sort of books do you like to read?
  10. What style of music do you prefer?
  11. What characteristic do you hope other people will most value in you?

Nominating 11 blogs:

In chosing these blogs I have explored those that I follow, people with blogs who follow me, and other crafty people on WordPress.

Anyway here are eleven blogs that I feel deserve the Liebster award. I think that they haven’t received the award before but of course, as always, I may be mistaken in this.

And this is not to say that all the other blogs that I appreciate don’t deserve it too.

BLOGS in no particular order.

  1. http://sincerelysarahandcrafted.wordpress.com/
  2. http://cuteasabutton82.wordpress.com/
  3. http://woolhogs.wordpress.com/
  4. http://mycraftytherapy.wordpress.com
  5. http://nanacathydotcom.wordpress.com
  6. http://homemademagnolia.wordpress.com
  7. http://poppygoeshappy.wordpress.com/
  8. http://veldagia.wordpress.com/
  9. http://thestitchsharer.com/  
  10. http://dragoncrossing.wordpress.com/
  11. http://floridianfibers.wordpress.com/

Why not go and check out these blogs maybe you will find one or more that you really like.

CAL 34-36 Pink, pink, pink? I think not!

Yesterday morning, I had only finished two squares so it was a question of: did I create a post for only two squares? or did I delay till I could include all three? Being such an orderly minded person I waited.

Square No. 34

Why orange for this square? No Cottage Garden related reason, just the fact that, being me, I looked ahead and shared out the colours between the relatively few single coloured squares and this one was chosen to be orange.

One could think oranges perhaps but that is hardly very ‘cottage garden’ with our weather, or there are carrots of course.

I am getting quite relaxed about bobbles these days and I liked the fact that with this one there was no tricky counting: a gap of two dcs between bobbles is so easy to do.

Square No. 35

I like this square though I found it a little tricky to start with.

From previous squares I had built up the idea that Jan Eaton made her chain stitch sections very tight so I did this with the 3ch on the first row and the 5ch on the 2nd row, only to find that the resulting section was anything but flat.

So I started again and this time made the chains as I normally would. Even this was not entirely flat but after I had done the third row it was looking acceptable so I continued.

I think that it has a slightly exotic look to it and could imagine that a blanket with this as the only square, or maybe with it paired with another simpler square, could look very attractive.

I was determined not to make it in pink; not that I have anything against pink.

If I saw it in my cottage garden, I think I was thinking Clematis as there are some with four large petals. I had originally planned to have the blue and green the other way round but I think that it probably looks better this way.

Square No. 36

I have had to redo this square (new picture above) as I didn’t find it as easy as I imagined as I wasn’t sure what to do at the end of the rows and think I guessed incorrectly the first few times. It also looked awfully uneven in the photo. The second time I swopped the narrow row colours round which makes it more like the one in the book.

However it was a novelty to be using htr for a change, less rows too!

It is almost pink, as the Stylecraft ‘clematis’ yarn is somewhere between pink and lilac in my estimation. Otherwise I couldn’t find any particular attribution for it.

Granny Ripple blanket latest and more

I am beginning to see that writing a blog in the winter is tricky if one doesn’t like using flash for photographs.

The light has been so bad today that even at it’s best I had to resort to flash to photograph the furthest I have got with the granny ripple blanket, my scarf and the yarn.

I have been working hard on the blanket since my last post inspite of life being busier than normal and after two days I had got this far and felt so pleased that it was coming out as I had hoped.

To date the picture below shows the furthest I have got and you can see how the colours will go. I have just begun on the spectrum colours with the ‘violet’ end of the spectrum.

I am regarding this as a pleasant, relaxing, background project as I am starting it much too late for this winter. I have various other short term project that I will be doing as well over the next few months and of course there is the CAL but I will post occasional updates on the blanket’s progress.

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Another thing to share with you concerns the scarf I made from the super chunky yarn my daughter gave me for my birthday.

When I first made the scarf this was how I wore it which made me wonder if I should have made it longer so that the weight would keep it in place.

However since I have been wearing it for real, I  realise that as the scarf is so thick, the traditional knot method of wearing a scarf actually works very well and this way it is just the right length.

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The last thing to share is that I have just taken delivery of some more yarn:

some colours I fear I may run out of for the CAL, white because I used most of it up making the snowflakes and two new colours that I want to use for an experiment in joining the CAL squares together. If and when I get around to that I will show you.