So what might this be?

stripsI have at last managed to finish these. Other things that might have been finished by now have been left but these were easy to do.

Within a few hours of taking the first photograph they had morphed into this strips woven togetherwhich is half a cushion cover.

Wanting to make a Celtic Plaitwork type cushion cover in rainbow colours and preferring an even number of different colours for this sort of design I chose the following Stylecraft Special DK colours. colour choiceDeciding to increase the number of colours from the standard seven ‘rainbow’ colours by adding a purple as a bridge between ‘violet’ and ‘red’.

Of course I had to spend time on my computer playing around with the colours to decide what exactly I wanted to do with them. This was the ‘original’, if you like, designplan for first sidebut I decided that it would be fun to create a cushion cover with this arrangement on one side and plan for second sidethis variant on the other.

I have now squared off the first side One side completewhich I was pleased to find came out about the size I had calculated and will now fit in making the strips for the other side in between my other projects which include edging my symmetrical granny ripple blanket, finishing off the socks for my granddaughter and making the hat I promised my daughter.

One thing this has shown me is that despite my doubts that such an arrangement could be used for a blanket. The woven strips do actually hold together pretty well, even before being edged, and so a blanket could be possible subject to various issues regarding colour(s) and length and thickness of strips.

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A Hot Pad / Teapot Stand pattern

I’ve just published the pattern for this on Ravelry. http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/celtic-hot-pad

Been working hard these last few days working out the best hook to use and creating the pdfs.

I showed you smaller version I made in the same cotton as my Celtic coasters. 

But this is only a little over 5″ across. Size of smaller hot pad shown

This would do as a teapot stand for a small teapot but is a bit small for a hot pad / trivet.

So I bought some chunky cotton.

“Yarn and Colors Super Must-Have” in Raspberry, Cantaloupe, Sunglow, Peony Leaf, Navy Blue and Violet.

It is always hard to judge colours on the screen so when the yarn came I was pleased to see that the blue although called ‘Navy Blue’ was not too dark and that they worked well together.

Here they all are in the Wool Warehouse signature see through cloth bag.

Chunky yarnMy first attempt was too loose but I went down a hook size and produced this. which is 7″ across. Larger hot padAs you can see here. Size of larger hot padMy Celtic Coaster pattern is selling very well, though I don’t expect this to be so popular, but I am really enjoying experimenting with all sorts of Celtic designs. And the extra cash allows me to feel I can afford to buy more yarns to experiment with!

What do you think? Would you find something like this useful?

And while I was playing around with the chunky cotton, I also made a case for my Swiss Army knife. Swiss Army knife in caseAnd closed. Swiss Army knife case closedIt fits quite snuggly so the case will stop it getting scratched if I just chuck it in my bag!

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?

Thinking of hot pads

One of the early people who bought my Celtic Coasters pattern asked me for some ideas of how I might use the pattern to make a hot pad. At the time I suggested a few ideas based on my recent work on expanding the coaster into a table mat. However when I recently had an idea for another Celtic design, that I knew would be bigger than a coaster made in my usual cotton yarn, once again I began thinking ‘hot pad’!

I wanted to try the new design in ‘chunky’ yarn and wondered if the DMC XL cotton could be the right thickness. The recommended hook size appeared to be 6-7mm and I had a 6.5mm that I had inherited from my mother so it seemed worth a try.

When I went to Winchester, the first shop I visited, because it was near the bus station, didn’t have the DMC but they did have the Patons yarn in the photograph. which had a recommended hook size of 6-7mm and was at a reduced price so I decided to buy a couple of balls in my favourite colours.

I found the DMC yarn in the second shop, though they only sold it in very pale, neutral, sort of colours. At least this was blue even though very pale.

It is worth noting that neither yarn describes itself as either chunky or super chunky on the label.

So I came home, got out my hook, and crocheted a strip of trebles in both yarn. It was obvious at this point that there was a great difference in the thickness of the two yarns. A difference I had already suspected.

It became obvious to me that. whereas the Patons was probably about a chunky weight. the DMC was much more of a super chunky.

So I wondered what would happen if I made one of my original coasters in the DMC. Of course I only had the one colour but I though that I would give it  a go and produced this. As a comparison here is the coaster style hot pad compared to a wooden mat I use on my dining table for extra heat resistance and a trivet that I use on the worktops for saucepans. The mat is about 7 inches and the new hot pad about 6 inches.

I actually think that this is a better solution to the “how do I use the coaster pattern for a hot pad?” question as it produces a much thicker pad.

The Patons is not 100% cotton so not really the best thing to use for a hot pad so in the end I decided to make my new design in my current DK weight cotton and see how it would look. Hot padI was really quite pleased with it, though I would change the starting point for the main strips. (Not that it matters really!!)

I think that if made in chunky weight cotton it would come out about 8 inches across.

So the question is: do I buy some chunky weight cotton in five different colours and make one? Especially as I don’t even use my trivets very much. I tend to put hot saucepans on my chopping board, a ring on the cooker that is off or my steel draining rack.

The only snag I found with the ‘coaster’ in the DMC cotton XL was that it took just over half a ball; otherwise I could have used up the rest by making another one!!

 

More Celtic Coasters

I don’t seem to be able to throw off my obsession with all things Celtic. But then why should I!

Lately I have been designing some more coasters but this time because of how the interwoven part looks when complete I have added a border.

Here you can see some of the first ones I made. Two different sizes of two new coaster designs

I made the larger ones with a 4mm hook and the smaller ones with a 3.5mm hook. I am still not sure which I prefer.

Here you can see why this design needs a border. Coaster without a borderAnd here are a few more I have made, playing around with different colour combinations. Latest new coastersAnd these are two of my original coasters that I made as a gift but more of that on Thursday. Two original coastersFor the observant among you: the reason there is no green in the first four coasters is because I had run out. I then bought four more balls in green, pink, blue and lilac as in the right hand coaster above.

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!

Easter Giveaway

Following on from my making lots of Celtic crosses I have decided to offer three of them as a Giveaway. Three Celtic crossesOne each to three people.

This is open to anyone anywhere.

All you have to do is comment at the bottom of this post saying which of the three you would prefer.

I think that all would be suitable as bookmarks though the plain red cross is the thinnest.

If you would like me to add a cord and tassel as I have done to this one that I made for myself Celtic cross with tasseljust say so in your comment.

The Giveaway is open till the Second Sunday of Easter (23rd April) when I will choose the winners.

Celtic Cross revisited

Having made variations of the Celtic plaitwork bookmarks I decided to revisit my pattern for a Celtic Cross and see if I could do the same.

I notice that in my original pattern I used my 1.25mm hook. This time I have also been using a 1mm hook and later tried what I believed to be one that was slightly smaller again, though not by much.

The first thing I did was to add slip stitches to the edges. Celtic crosses with added slip stitchesLike with the bookmarks this does make the cross rather thick, maybe even thicker. I made the one with the purple stitches first and thought that it would maybe be better if the upright was longer so I increased the number of stitches in that part and made the one with the red.

Then of course I had to try one with a coloured edge.

This time I pretty much doubled the stitches for each section and came up with this. Celtic cross with purple edgingAlthough the cross is about the same height as the bookmark one. Above cross compared to bookmarkIt feels too large to be used as a bookmark and I think I will hang it up on a wall somewhere in the house.

I decided to try using #20 thread instead of #10 but I made a mistake and used the #10 red for the edging (which is a shame as I have lots of #20 red!) Two edged crossesThis would be useable as a bookmark or for a wall and in fact using the thicker cotton for the edge made it firmer. I am not sure what size hook I used as it was one of the ones I inherited from my mother. In those days each hook maker seems to have had their own system of numbering and I couldn’t work out what would be the metric equivalent.

I then tried making one of the original plain ones, still in what I thought was #20 cotton, so it came out smaller and a little firmer than the original. Two plain crossesI actually think that the smaller size hook is an improvement. I was previously using the smaller of the size hooks recommended on the label.

I have stiffened all the crosses with spray starch.

The original does seem to be the best for a bookmark.

I also wanted to examine the pattern more closely and see if I was choosing the right numbers of stitches so I worked a trefoil knot.Trefoil knotThis seemed to fit together just right!

I then went on to consider where I was putting the join, as although it should have come behind the circle it seemed to have a tendency to slip towards the next over part and so become visible. I am therefore adjusting my original pattern slightly to improve it.

Using my slightly adjusted pattern and some multi-coloured thread I made another cross. Multi-coloured Celtic cross

I am not sure which I like best but I unfortunately I think the plain ones work best as bookmarks.

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!

 

Celtic Napkin Ring pattern

The light has been very bad lately, with the odd bits of brightness at inconvenient moments, or I would have shown you my blanket at the half way point. So finding a little bit of better light I quickly took the photographs for this tutorial.

I used DK (US worsted weight) cotton and a 3.5mm hook. If you crochet loosely you may need a smaller one.

You need to crochet all stitches into the back loop of the the chain so both edges look the same on the right side. (One such loop is shown in black below).Back loop of chain

To start make 50 chain and then make the first treble (US – dc) into the back of the fourth chain from the hook.

After the 50 chain the pattern is

4 tr, 5tr tog, 9tr, 5tr into 1ch, 9tr, 5tr tog, 9tr, 5tr into 1ch, 4tr.

US version

4 dc, 5dc tog, 9dc, 5dc into 1ch, 9dc, 5dc tog, 9dc, 5dc into 1ch, 4dc.

Make four pieces as above in four different colours. Four strips For the tutorial part of this post I used the same colours as I used originally. If you want to use different colours you might find it helpful to copy what I have written and replace my colour names with yours.

The first thing to do is to join the red piece in a ring. Red strip joined All the joins will be hidden but it is only 3 trs (US-dcs) that will be hidden so it is best if you finish the ends up and down the trs (US-dcs) rather than along the edges.

I hope it will be possible for me only use the term treble from now on and for US readers to understand that to them it means the dcs.

Now you thread the blue piece through. You need to secure this in place at each overlap or underlap, as you go, unless you are very deft with your hands.

I have found small safety pins work better that dressmaking pins though if you didn’t have a lot of safety pins you could stitch each overlap with a piece of contrasting thread that you remove later.

The blue starts by overlapping the red just to the right of one of the upper points. This overlap consists of the three trs next to the corner 5tr into 1ch. Pin or secure this overlap. First blue overlap Now align the blue strip along the side of the red one passing under the red this time just next to the corner and secure. First blue underlap Continue along the side of red strip going over the next time then under the final time and securing each overlap.

Unless you are very unsure this is a good time to join the ends of the blue strip together. If you were being very cautious you should still join the two ends together maybe just with a knotted loop of contrasting thread at each edge.

When I made it the first time I distributed the joins around the circle but here you can see the joins in the red and blue strips as neat as I could make them. Joins will only show on the inside. Red and blue joins Now you add the green strip. Again you start by overlapping the strip after an upper point – the blue one this time – You need only secure the outer overlaps this time.

Again you will go over and under and align the strip against the previous = blue one.

However you will go over blue and then over red, followed by under blue and under red, then over blue and over red, followed by under blue and under red. Green overs and unders Join or secure the ends of the green strip at the back. This time the join will be hidden under the red strip. Green ends join Now thread through the yellow strip. (No need to secure except at the start at the back of the blue strip.)

Start, as before, to the right of one of the upper green points. Secure in place tucking the end treble under the blue strip and pinning at the back. Starting yellow This time you have only to go alternately under and over as you work your way round in a similar manner to before. No more securing needed till the end.

Turn the ring inside out and secure the two yellow ends with the safety pin you started with. Yellow ends secure Now remove all the other pins (or securing threads) before joining the ends of the yellow strip (and any other ends you didn’t connect before).

Now you can make sure that all the interweaving is even and you are done.Finished napkin ringMaking one of these takes me a couple of hours.