A Better Bookmark

Those of you who have been following me for a while will know that I wasn’t entirely happy with my Celtic bookmark because it was quite large and a bit thick. I posted the pattern but then, using the bookmark in one of the larger hardback books I have been borrowing from the library lately, I realised that I had left something out of the pattern!! so removed it.

However more recently I realised that if I made the bookmark in #20 cotton it would be smaller and thinner. new and previous bookmarksThis is why I bought the cotton thread I showed you here. recent yarn purchasesI used the cream #20 thread and some red that I had already to make another bookmark and being very happy with it have published the pattern in my Ravelry store – http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/celtic-bookmark-2 – Getting it right this time!

Here are the two bookmarks compared with others. bookmark comparison

In #20 cotton thread this makes a bookmark approximately 5.5 inches by 1 inch (14ch x 2.5cm). I think this is the best size and thickness for a bookmark

in #10 cotton thread the bookmark is 7 inches by 1.5 inches. (18cm x 4cm). This is fairly thick but useable in larger books as I have found.

As you can see here.

larger bookmark in large bookand the new one in a smaller book. new bookmark in paperback book

inside the same paperback library book. new bookmark on paperback bookSo what do you think?

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Recent makes and WIPs

I have been working on quite a few odds and ends before and after my holiday, apart from the coasters I showed you recently.

I thought that it seemed a shame to waste the place mat I had made just to show it could be done,Placemat and coasterand I remembered that I had a cushion that could do with a new cover. Old cushion coverSo I worked out a way to make a surround and thought I could turn the placemat into a cushion cover. Half a cushion coverThe only question was what should I do for the other side? I found a pattern for a Celtic style weave using front post and back post crochet stitches but didn’t really enjoy working it and thought it was a bit too holey, so I am not sure what to do for the reverse.

Until I do this will remain a WIP.

I have a local crafting friend who has been making some of my cross and angel bookmarks to give to children who are about to be baptised. She said that she had worked the angel one in #20 thread. Now I have always made the angels in #10 thread so I thought here was an interesting challenge. Could I see well enough to make the angel in #20 thread? The only thread I had enough of was my Anchor Artiste multicolour one. After the first row or two I found it easier than I expected! Crochet angelOf course this is larger than life size. (Unless it is on a small screen!)

I have also been making a couple of cross bookmarks, to maybe give away some time. Cross bookmarkThis one is finished, though neither the cross or angel has been stiffened and ironed yet.

I have also gone back to working on my sea-and-sand blanket that has been a bit neglected of late. I feel I am on the home straight now as I am working the last repeat of the colours.

 

My bookmarks in use!

Having discovered that the latest book I got out from the library is a large hardback book I decided to move on from my pineapple bookmark that I have been using lately to one of my Celtic ones: Pineapple bookmark on bookthe most popular one with the purple edging and pointy corners. Celtic cross edged bookmarkWith the pineapple bookmark the pages don’t quite lie flat where it is. Pineapple bookmark in bookBut as I suspected with the Celtic one they gape rather more. Similarly with my latest version of the slip stitch one. Celtic edged bookmark in bookNow with pointed corners! Celtic slip stitched bookmark in bookEven my plain Celtic cross lifts the pages a little more. Original Celtic cross bookmarkNow with cord and tassel. Origianl Celtic cross bookmark in bookAnd of course my latest Celtic cross bookmark. Celtic cross bookmark(Not yet with added cord) operates more like the other embellished Celtic ones.Celtic cross bookmark in bookJust thought it was useful to give an idea of their relative thickness! Though when in use in the middle of the book they show slightly less!

Celtic Cross – definitive version

Definitive Celtic crossCeltic knots and plaitwork are always drawn with an edge so that you can see clearly how the ribbons cross over each other and I thought that this did not show clearly enough on my original cross. Original Celtic crosswhich is why I started experimenting with adding slip stitches. Celtic crosses with slip stitchesAt the time I did try adding the slip stitches to the back loop only so as to give an edge but found that this made the strip so much wider. I thought of using dcs (US-scs) for the central ribbon but knew this would be more fiddly so decided against it.

I was also finding slip stitching more difficult than dcs (US-scs) at this time so I tried adding a dc edge Celtic cross with edgingbut could see that the cross was then so much bigger. (I did increase the number of stitches as well and could have reduced them a bit but it would still have been bigger than I wanted.)

Recently however I decided to bite the bullet, as they say, and try making the main ribbon of the cross out of dcs (US-scs) instead of trs (US-dcs).

I knew this would make it harder to keep track of the stitches when checking to see I hadn’t made a mistake but I persisted and my first attempt turned out like this. New Celtic cross first attemptI could see that this was much smaller than the original and was not entirely surprised as crochet is very stretchy in a sideways direction (especially the upright of the cross) but had noticed that adding the slip stitches removed this, as with the cross with the purple slip stitches above.

So I decided to increase the number stitches and use a bigger hook.

Now I have lots of tiny steel hooks, inherited from my mother, but only a few, still small but larger, aluminium ones and the smallest of these is a number ‘3’. My smallest aluminium hook was a 2.5mm and larger so I decided I would use the no. 3.

(Looking at some crochet hook charts I now think that this might be a 1.9mm equivalent hook.)

With the increased stitches and the new hook my cross turned out like this. New Celtic cross second attemptYou can see here how these two attempts compared with the original. New Celtic cross first two attempts with originalSo I decided that as with my other slip-stitched crosses it wasn’t necessary to increase the stitch numbers except for the upright and the circle and tried again.

Here are all my three attempts next to each other together with the original. New Celtic cross all three attempts with originalThe slip stitch edged cross (bottom right) does not really need stiffening and had finally given me what I was after.

The original is of course easier to make and attractive in it’s own right but I like the new one best!

So here are the three different styles. Three different styles of Celtic cross

The one on the right with the inner slip stitches is the thickest and the top central (original one) is the thinnest.

I also experimented recently with making an equal armed cross with the added slip stitches but don’t really like it. Though I am not sure why!Celtic cross with equal arms

I have updated my pattern page with patterns for all four different types of Celtic Cross.

This has been really hard work and I have tried to double check everything but if you decided to use one of the patterns and find anything that seems wrong, or any typos, I would be really grateful if you would let me know so I can change it for others.

Celtic Bookmarks

Ever since someone put a photograph of one of my Celtic coasters on Pinterest I have had about three weeks of hundreds of people every day coming to look at the pattern. Even now it seems to be over one hundred.

I know that a thread bookmark will appeal to far fewer people but it did make me think that it might be worth revisiting my Celtic bookmarks.

My original bookmark was this.Original Celtic bookmark(I can’t find it at present so it is probably keeping a place in a book somewhere!)

I did find that it was a bit floppy even when sprayed with starch so this time I decided to move away from my original idea of choosing four stitches for a crossover point and used the three stitches that I used for the coasters to ensure there were no gaps.

This gave me. New Celtic bookmarkI found that this was naturally stiffer and was probably not worth starching.

If you look closer I think you can see that the white part shows you the ‘right’ side of the crochet whereas the red shows the ‘wrong’ side. I quite liked this as it means that the bookmark doesn’t itself have a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ side and the pattern for both parts is the same.

However I did sit down and work out a pattern for the second piece so that you could have both pieces showing the ‘right’ side.

When I created the original I liked the idea of choosing to make a configuration that needed two pieces.

[For Celtic plaits this width, there are only two main possibilities: that of two strands or one. More about the variations at the end for those who may be interested.]

However as the corners at the side come in pairs, the colours were not as separate as I might have liked so I decided to see what could be done with a version that came in one piece.

[It might be worth mentioning, even now, that if you count the right angled corners down the side and this is an even number you will get two separate strands and if it is an odd number you will always get one.]

I had chosen eight corners for the original bookmark as I thought that it gave the right proportions for a bookmark and so I decided to chose nine for my one piece bookmark.

This is what the strip looks like when it is finished.Crochet stripI thought that a totally plain bookmark would be boring and wouldn’t show off the plaitwork to best effect and so I decided to add a dc (US-sc) edging. I had increased the number of stiches per crossing back to four.

(This didn’t work with this strip as it still made it to wide to fold together easily so I took it off and tried adding slip stitches.)

This gave me the red and white bookmark in this photo.Two Celtic bookmarks with added slip stitchesI thought that this was reminiscent of this style of plaitwork in my book. Celtic plaitworkHowever I still wanted to try a dc edging so I increased the number of stitches for a crossing to five. (I made a slight adjustment to the ends too.)

This gave me the following. Celtic bookmark with purple edgingwhich is larger but I rather liked.

Here is a size comparison with some of the many bookmarks that I own. Bookmark comparisonThe leather bookmark on the left is rather large, more suitable for a large book like a bible, but I often use the two papyrus ones in my library books; so you can see that they are all useable.

Of course these bookmarks are twice as thick as my other crochet bookmarks (Find them HERE) because of the crossing over and in fact when you add the slip stitches that makes them slightly thicker again. Still useable I think.

Now before you leave off reading I would like to ask a couple of questions.

  • Which bookmark do you like best? (If you like any!)
  • Do you think it is worth publishing the pattern for any of them? If so which ones?

Thank you!

More about the different types of plaits

Really you can think of there being four different types of plait of this width which depend on the number of right-angled corners up the side.

The two odd ones of the four are really the same but with an even number they do show subtle differences, as you can see in this picture. Drawings of different plaits

There are two main differences.

One

If the even number is divisible by four there are same number of corners of each colour on both sides. If the number is not divisible by four there is an extra pair of each colour on opposite sides.

Two

From a crochet point of view it makes a difference to the 180 deg turn-around points.

The dark line represent your initial chain and as you can see for the number divisible by four the chain is on the inside of all the turn-around points.

Where the number is not divisible by four the chain is inside for one and outside for the other. It is worth noting that this also happens for the odd numbered ones where you get one of each, each end.

Also note

The extra picture at the bottom (compare with top left) is to highlight the fact that these plaits do have a handedness and although I have chosen one of them that the same piece of crochet could be used to make either. Though you would want to put the join in a different place!

 

Angel Christmas cards

I really feel that I could do with some way of lighting the items I want to photograph in a more even way and even if it is dull outside. However I have packed up all my Christmas cards now so this will have to do.

I shared with you the pattern for the angels I was making for my Christmas cards and now I will share with you the making of the final cards. Finished card Here is the final card and this is how I put them together.

First an aside. Several years ago I got a pair of folding scissors in a Christmas cracker and ever since then I had it on my key ring and it was very useful when I was out, especially when crocheting on the bus or Friday ‘Crafty Coffee’ mornings.

BUT then I lost my keys and thus the scissors!

Now for years I had wanted a Swiss Army knife but had never got around to it, partly because of the cost and partly because I could never decide which one I would buy. Now I decided that I would finally buy myself one with a scissors. The choice was really between the Climber and the Compact, as although I liked the idea of the magnifying glass on the Explorer it was a bit too chunky. In the end I bought the Climber because on Black Friday it was available locally at a good price and it is always good to see something before you buy it.

One of the things that the knife came with I wasn’t sure I would use but in fact it was the ideal tool to help with assembling my Christma cards.

And that was the ‘reamer’. Reamer I used it to make a hole and pull the loop at the end of the cord through the hole.

Here you can see an angel and a card, Angel on card the dot is to guide me as to where to make the hole.

And here is the reamer all ready to be used to pull the loop through the card. Pulling through cord Here is the inside when I had fixed the angel in place with a piece of cord securing the bottom of the robe to the loop. Inside of card These pictures were taken the other day when I was in a hurry to make a couple of cards to send abroad. On Sunday I finished the other twelve cards and here you can see all twelve angels. Twelve angels And the twelve finished cards. Twelve cardsOriginally I was intending to make more angels but pains in my wrists and lots of problems to sort out meant that I only made seventeen (including the three for the Giveaway). So for a few people that I wanted to give home-made cards to I have folded some origami angels to go on the same cards. I will share these with you next week when I have made the cards and taken some photographs.

 

 

Fish bookmark revisited.

Not being happy with either of my earlier attempts to make a Christian fish bookmark. Bruges lace style fishFilet crochet fish bookmarkI decided to have another try. I decided that the rectangular shape worked best but that the fish needed to be in a contrasting colour to show up. I tried to do this with the filet crochet but it was not at all satisfactory, so I switched my attention to tapestry crochet.

I started out with DK yarn as I often do, even though it would be much too big. DK yarn version of fish bookmark Having felt that this showed promise I then tried out a small version in #10 thread.

Just the minimum length to include my ideas. First attempt at bookmarkIt is possible to make the back look pretty much perfect but I decided that this was good enough. Other side of bookmarkHowever I decided that I would really like a lighter colour and found a blue/green mixture on the internet that looked appealing but didn’t want to buy it on-line if I could get it locally because of the cost of postage.

I went up to Winchester that is the nearest place I know that has a good selection of crochet cotton but I couldn’t get exactly what I wanted and came back with this instead. Crochet cotton It was lighter in colour than I would have liked but I made this? Second attempt at bookmarkWhat do you think?

I think I would make the fish a bit longer next time. I am not sure why it is so short, maybe I miscounted!

 

 

Celtic Cross crochet pattern

The pattern for all four of my Celtic crosses is now on sale on Ravelry – http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/celtic-cross-bookmark

My original cross.Crochet celtic crossWhen I used #10 crochet cotton and a 1.25mm hook (Blue cross) it came out about 4 inches high and three inches wide. (10 x 7.5 cm) However using a smaller hook will give a firmer though slightly smaller bookmark. (Red cross)You could also try multi-coloured thread. For this I used a 1.25mm for the starting chain and a 1mm hook for the rest. I also increased the picot stitches from two to three.

I’m still thinking ‘celtic’!

I am not ready to start my blanket so I have been messing around with various small projects,: one of which was to continue with my idea of making a cross bookmark based on this silver cross my brother gave me a long time ago.Ideas for patternI refined and completed my ideas for a pattern and using some spare acrylic yarn created this.Trial in acrylicThe sun was so bright and I was in a hurry but I think this gives the idea.

This told me what I needed to do to tighten up the pattern and shorten the arms and then I found a way to make the corners pointier. So I experimented with some #10 cotton thread and got this.Trial in cottonJust clipped together for speed.

This enabled me to work out just what was needed and make a final one.Finished celtic crossI was very pleased with the proportions of this one.

I was a bit worried about the lower upright, when I had made it, because of the two long pieces being separate and thought that it would not be any good as a bookmark but stiffened with the spray starch it feels a lot better, so I may continue with the idea and maybe try making one with the circle in a contrasting colour.

You can’t feel it but what do you think?

Angel bookmark/decoration Pattern

Three angelsThis pattern in UK & US terms is now available to buy on Ravelry – http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/angel-bookmark-decoration

If made in #10 crochet cotton angel is about four inches high. In goldfingering it is about six inches high. It can be used as a bookmark, perhaps with a cord and tassel or else as a tree decoration or even made into bunting.

I made it as a bookmark to give as a Christmas card.  I made them in all sorts of colours.

Even in #20 thread

NOTE

The pattern includes bothe UK and US versions.