Crosses and coaster

Been quite busy really the last few days.

On Thursday I decided to make some Hot Cross Buns.

[Now this third cycle of the chemo is not much fun and I am struggling a bit so don’t be surprised that things I have been making are not up to my usual standard that is rather far from perfection anyway!]

I decided to use the food processor to save time and effort and therefore to make my usual dozen in two lots. One all white flour, with sharing with my son in mind, and one lot my normal half and half.

I had a bit of a hiccup with the first (white) ones as I forgot all about the sugar until I had mixed in the fruit. So not wanting to leave it out I them added some and kneaded it in.

You can see the resulting buns have a slightly uneven look. crosses on first lot of buns

I have yet to master making the crosses perfectly and although I made a cross shaped dent in the buns before piping on the flour and water cross, which I think is an improvement, I decided the mixture was too runny!

Cooked first lot cooked and glazedThey look a bit odd but do taste okay.

The second time I remembered the sugar! crosses on second lot of bunsBut I added more flour to the piping mixture and this time it was too thick and didn’t want to let go of the piping nozzle!

Cooked buns cooked and glazedthey look a bit more respectable and also taste fine, though have a firmer texture than shop ones, that I like. Is this ambiguous? I mean I prefer the home made ones!

I bought lots of Easter Eggs for family members but one person doesn’t like chocolate, (I know how can you not like chocolate!),

so I made them a Celtic Coaster in colours I though they would like. first attempt at coasterPreviously I had made them some bunting. buntingLooking at it now (writing this post in advance on Friday!) I didn’t realise I had used red as well. When I made the coaster I thought the purple was the best colour to blend with the other three. So I pulled out the purple strip and replaced it with a red one. amended coasterPersonally, from an aesthetic point of view, I prefer the purple but this hopefully will co-ordinate with the bunting and so be much better!


Looking back on 2017

Not having started any more knitting and crochet as I am not sure what to choose, I thought that I would share what I made in 2017.

This was very much the year of Celtic crochet.
I started by devising some plaitwork bookmarks and published the best pattern. I also then made some Celtic cross bookmarks, though this time I included all versions in the pattern.

Later I moved on to seeing if I could design a hot pad and made two: one with extra chunky cotton from my original coaster pattern and one in chunky cotton to a new design. I also worked out how to make a larger version of my coaster pattern to create a table mat to match a coaster and later used this idea to create the cushion cover you can see.

I devised some new Celtic coasters and a modified version of these will be published when I am feeling up to  it.

Of course I also crocheted some other things. The teddy was from someone else’s pattern (and I also used patterns I found to make a pot holder and fold up shopping bag – not shown).

I made a pattern for a spray of orchids to put on the kitchen windowsill and I didn’t think the pattern was good enough to publish but they give me a lot of pleasure.

I did share a pattern and tutorial for a ‘beginner coaster’. The first free one for a while.

I also published an angel pattern and my ‘real snowflakes’ pattern. The multi-coloured angel was made from my angel bookmark pattern but in #20 cotton instead of #10.

The blanket used my ‘sea and sand’ colours and introduced a symmetrical version of my granny ripple pattern that I called ‘smooth granny ripple’.

Towards the end of the year I devised a new cup cosy for my breakfast mug and a new larger dishcloth.

As always I did some knitting but not as much as my crochet.

The Womble was a Christmas present for 2016. The socks on the right plus the blue hat and the cowl and hat were all given to my eldest daughter. The other socks were for my granddaughter and the two plum coloured hats for seamen.

One of the first things I finished was my 2016 ‘temperature scarf’ and it has proved to be very warm and I love the extra length.

The only other thing I made was to try to see if I could create some ‘planned pooling’ from some yarn I had. I have now redone this in a more useful shape and when I get round to making a lining, I will share it with you.

A New pattern – A Free One this time!

I created this pattern to offer my grandaughter as something that was interesting, not very large and only needed knowing how to make chains and double crochets (US- single crochets).

In the event she preferred the idea of using her multi-coloured yarn to make a scarf but I have now created a tutorial showing how to make what I call

A Beginner Coaster

This needs three different coloured yarns. Cotton gives the most attractive finish I think, but acrylic or similar would work as well.

I use the fact that using just three colours you can create a stripped pattern without having to cut the yarn and have lots of ends to sew in.

I used a DK weight yarn (US – light worsted) and a 4mm crochet hook. The size of hook could be adjusted up or down if you feel more comfortable with another size.

(There are word only versions of the pattern in UK & US terms at the end of the post.)

Start with a slip knot slip knotThe reason I show you a photograph is that a slip knot can end up two different ways and if you make it like this it is possible to pull the free end to make the loop smaller when you have finished. (This is useful to know if you start casting on for knitting with a slip knot too).

You then make 20 chains. chainsNow we will add the second coloured yarn.

I like to tie the new yarn to the old as you can then pull it without it coming loose. (I normally untie the knot before sewing in the ends.) 
Using the new yarn, make another chain. When working rows of double crochets, (US – single crochets) each row starts with what is called a ‘turning chain’ that gives a bit of height before working the first double crochet. (US – single crochet)

There are four different ways to work into the starting chain but the easiest way for beginners is to turn the chain so you can see the front and insert the hook under the top loop of each chain in turn. 

The needle shows where to insert the hook for the first stitch. This is the twentieth chain from the start.

Work a double crochet (US – single crochet) into this loop and each subsequent loop. Here you can see the first three.And here you are, having pulled the yarn through the last chain and about to complete the stitch. This is when you attach the third coloured yarn, in the same way as before, prior to completing the stitch with the new colour. Now make a turning chain. And turn you work to start back along the row.

The first double crochet (US – single crochet) is worked into the second loop from the hook which is easily found as it is the first loop in the previous colour. Continue with a double crochets (US – single crochets) into each subsequent stitch from the previous row. Complete the last stitch with the first colour which you will find waiting for you. (You should have made exactly twenty).

After this you continue working each row as just shown, picking up the coloured yarn that you find at the end for the last stitch, until you have made twenty rows.

The last row (the twenty-first) will be made with the first colour and this time you will make three stitches into the last, twentieth, stitch. This will be the first part of the edging.

You now work your double crochets (US – single crochets) into the first gaps down the side. These gaps will either be after a starting chain or the last dc of a row.Starting with working into the row two away from the edge. When you get to the last row, you start to work into the other half of the starting chain.

Each chain has three loops , so you will be working under two loops this time.

Here you can see I have inserted a needle under the first and last places you will be working.

You work two stitches into the place on the right and then one into each subsequent chain.You now work two more stitches into the side of the first (in this case the pale pink) row.

You then continue up the second side as before, ending in the last row which is where you started the edge, and work two stitches here as shown in this photograph.You should have twenty stitches on each side plus an extra one in each corner.

(But unless you are a perfectionist, it won’t really matter too much if you are one out anywhere.)

Now all you have to do is cut toff the yarn and sew in the ends. There will only be six.

I will now show you how I would do this.

Finishing off

I like to finish off the final end of yarn as invisibly as possible and so I pull out the last loop until it is really long. So I can cut it where the hook is and still have enough yarn to sew in the end.

I then attach a needle and thread the needle two loops away as in this picture. You are going to make a loop that will substitute for the loop of the first stitch.

Pull the yarn through and thread the needle back where the yarn came from.Pull the yarn till the loop matches the others. Now sew in all the ends.

I turn the work to the other side and I will show you just how I do one end.

I untie the knot that held the yarns together (but you can leave out this step if it feels too tricky) and slip the needle under a few loops of the same colour along the row. 

I pull the needle through and then insert it under some of the same loops in the opposite direction. Of course it is important not to insert the needle in the same place it came out from or you may simply pull the yarn out again.

I find this double direction approach is especially good for things like blankets to stop the ends coming loose.

To finish: here are a couple of coasters I made while developing the pattern, so don’t count the stitches but see the variety. 

Now the word only pattern.

Pattern (UK version)

Start with 20 chain in your first colour then tie in the second colour and pull through to make another chain. This will be your ‘turning chain’.

Row 1: Insert hook into upper loop of starting chain, two loops from hook and work a dc into this and each subsequent chain. Complete the last dc by tying in the third colour and using it to complete the last dc. Make 1 ch in the new colour and turn work.

Row 2: Work 1 dc into each dc of the previous row, completing the last dc with the coloured yarn you will find at the end. (20dcs). Make 1ch and turn work.

Rows 3 – 20: Repeat Row 2.


Top Row:  Work 1 dc into each dc of the previous row, adding two more dcs into the last stitch. (Giving three in total in the last stitch.)

Left side:Starting two rows down, work a dc into the side of each row.

Bottom: Work 2 dcs into the first of the starting chains, then 1 dc into the other 19.

Right side: Work 2 dc into the side of what was the first row and 1 dc into each subsequent row. Work an extra dc into the last row which is where you started the edging.

Cut the yarn and sew in the ends.

Pattern (US version)

Start with 20 chain in your first colour then tie in the second colour and pull through to make another chain. This will be your ‘turning chain’.

Row 1: Insert hook into upper loop of starting chain, two loops from hook and work a sc into this and each subsequent chain. Complete the last sc by tying in the third colour and using it to complete the last sc. Make 1 ch in the new colour and turn work.

Row 2: Work 1 sc into each sc of the previous row, completing the last sc with the coloured yarn you will find at the end. (20scs). Make 1ch and turn work.

Rows 3 – 20: Repeat Row 2.


Top Row:  Work 1 sc into each sc of the previous row, adding two more scs into the last stitch. (Giving three in total in the last stitch.)

Left side:Starting two rows down, work a sc into the side of each row.

Bottom: Work 2 scs into the first of the starting chains, then 1 sc into the other 19.

Right side: Work 2 sc into the side of what was the first row and 1 sc into each subsequent row. Work an extra sc into the last row which is where you started the edging.

Cut the yarn and sew in the ends.



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.

Celtic Coasters

The Pattern for this is now available to buy on Ravelry –

These coasters are made by interleaving four rectangular crochet strips. You only need a small amount of of yarn. Ideally made with four or at least two colours as you will see from the photographs.

They should come out about 4 inches / 10cm square.


Although this is a very straighforward pattern I do not consider it to be suitable for beginners.

More about devising these coaters

You may remember my “I have a new obsession” post. Well since then I have been working on more celtic designs, in particular I have continued thinking about how to make a coaster.

I had given up the crochet cotton coaster because my hands were hurting but it occured to me that it might be possible to make one in DK weight yarn if I gave up the idea of combining five pieces, so I tried with three and my standard method of working out how many chains were needed.3 part coasterI realised that although this worked well for my celtic bookmark that the gaps in the resulting coaster would be better eliminated, so I reduced the number of trebles (US-dcs) for a crossing point from four to three and tried again.

I had realised that using less trebles per crossing, I could increase the number of pieces from three to four.

So this is what I did and here is the result.4 part coasterI then got out the oddments of my Rico essentials cotton yarn and made another one.Coaster from cotton oddmentsI thought it worked it even better in cotton.

Now, I had shown you how I messed around with a drawing program to see how different colours could be used. I had a play and chose to make a couple more coasters like this from my regular stash.Red to green coasterandGreen to purple coasterI then thought it might be fun to use just two colours arranged so as to get a chequer pattern in the centre.

This is what you get.Black and cream coaster

I would love to make some more but my coffee table is getting Coffee tablea bit crowded.

I have a new obsession!

Celtic knotwork or plaitwork. (And I haven’t forgotten about the orchids.)

I few weeks ago I showed you the bookmark I had made. Well since then I have been busy drawing and planning and thinking up ideas.

For further ideas I turned to my book on Celtic knotwork.BookHere are some of my early drawings. Early drawingsThe one with colour comes from in the book but done my way.

The ones lower left are just plaitwork squares and the one at the top is my idea for a celtic knot cross bookmark.

This is it done on the computer.Knot crossI have a silver celtic cross and I also wondered if that could be turned into a crochet pattern.

Silver cross designThe curves make this trickier to work out.

Having decided that the plaitwork was the simplest, I played around with a few colours

I decided that using my computer drawing program would make that easier.Complete plaitPutting each colour on a different layer e.g.First layer

made it easier to try different combinations.

Different colourwaysMaybe you might like to try on squared paper or the computer.

The only shapes you need are these.Needed shapesor the mirror equivalent. I have used both.

It’s best to start in the middle like this.Start

Turning this into a pattern is easy.

Draw round the curve to represent the chain you will start with, as in this pattern for my bookmark.Drawing for bookmarkYou will make a long chain the right length (or a little longer and undo any excess chains). Working into the back of the chains gives the best finish.

Each crossover point means 4 chains (ignore the squares between crossovers). Each 90 deg turn means either 1 chain or 5 chains if the chain is on the outside of the curve.

Each 180 deg curve is similarly either 3 chain or 11 chain.

You work 1 tr (US-dc) into each chain except for corners and turns.

A corner 90 deg turn is made by working 5tr (US-dc) into 1 chain or else doing 5trtog.

A 180 deg turn is made by working 5tr into first chain, then 1 tr into next, then 5 tr into next, or else 5trtog, 1 ch, 5trtog.

I liked to start in the middle of a crossover point.

This works for any design not just the bookmark.

I realised that if I made the smaller plaitwork design in DK (US-worsted weight) yarn it would be too big for a drink mat so I thought I would try with some #10 cotton.Halfway finishedUnfortunately I had to stop at this point.

I have had pains in my wrists for the past few months and although making my rainbow spiral cloth was fine, working into the back of the chain for these hurt too much.

I thought it was something that would get better if I just rested my hands and didn’t do things that hurt but now I have been told that it is osteoarthritis. The doctor didn’t seem to think I needed any more information as it was enough to know that it was “nothing scary”.

I am still hoping to finish this one day and try my bookmark ideas. Just need to find out a bit more about living with osteoarthritis and whether if it hurts it’s doing damage.

My hands work fine and the pain is not as bad as it was; just don’t want it to get worse.

It’s thicker than the others but I love using my celtic bookmark.

Celtic knot bookmark

Christmas Coasters

I hope you all had a Happy Christmas and are now looking forward to the New Year.

So while we wait here is something I couldn’t show you before.

These I days I give my children money for Christmas and birthdays with maybe a little something to open. Last year I made my daughters and their husbands crochet key rings. This year however I only made one Christmas present: a joint one for my eldest and her husband.

Some Christmas coasters.

Finished coasters

The gold shape in the centre was not part of the present I just put it there to add to the picture.

I took the patterns out of my 100 snowflake book.

Snowflake book

I started my making no. 100 in silver because it seemed a good size and shape for a coaster. I then made no. 98 in gold, didn’t like it very much because the holes were to big and made no. 97 instead. The snowflakes at the end of the book are larger than those at the beginning.

I chose no.97 because it looked as much like a star as a snowflake. So I saw the present as comprising six stars and six snowflakes.

Finished snowflakes

[Having experimented with stiffening this sort if thread with PVA glue and spray starch. I decided the glue made them just too stiff and used the starch.]

So now I had my coasters but I realised that as they were they were neither very heat proof or drip proof I had to do something to remedy this.

In the end my solution was to buy some felt and embroidery thread and make a hexagonal pad to attach them to.

Scraps from making hexagons

Here you can see the scraps that were left from two pieces of felt 9″ x 12″ in red and green plus the template I cut from an old birthday card.

I found some lovely shiny rayon embroidery thread in matching colours.

Red and green thread

I cut out two hexagons for each coaster, sewed the snowflake shape on one with invisible thread (Just to be sure it wouldn’t show) and then joined a second hexagon to the first with blanket stitch round the edge.

As you may have realised I am not very good at sewing but I was pleasantly surprised that the sewing wasn’t too bad.

Stitching on coaster

here is a closer view of the two designs.

A pair of coasters

My daughter was delighted with them.


The Giveaway Winner is………………………..

This time I really did put the names in a hat.

An old winter imitation fur hat that is actually too small for me.

Tossed them around with my fingers many times before drawing out…………………..

A winner who will receive this lovely cotton yarn in seven rainbow colours


and one of the following coasters


or one like this.

Had to keep you waiting! 🙂

And the Winner is


I have sent her an email to tell her that she has won and asking which coaster she would like.

*****     *****     *****     *****     *****

Thank you to everyone who entered it was lovely to hear from you all.

At Last! The Giveaway

This Giveaway is for the 200+ email followers that I know about. I explained before that I was a little tired in July when I reached that magic number – 200 and now I am well on the way to 250!

When you see what I have decided for the giveaway you will understand why I had to wait this late into August.

The giveaway will have a yarn part and a created by me part.

The yarn is these seven balls of Rico Essentials cotton in standard rainbow colours. The ‘indigo’ in an actual rainbow is not really as dark as the name indigo would suggest so these are my take on suitable (and available) colours.


All to spread a little rainbow love. 🙂

But as well, as I have been busy with making coasters lately out of this same yarn, I will be giving away copies of the patterns I created for both sorts of coasters and will make one coaster of the winner’s choice.

Either a rainbow one like this

0173-redor a rainbow one like this


or a plain one like this in any of the rainbow colours.


To enter – Just post a comment below saying that you are an email follower and want to enter – I will chose a winner in a couple of weeks time on 7th September, all ready to be announced on the Monday.

Rainbow coasters

I couldn’t show you these before as I made them as a little something for part of my daughter’s birthday present.


People seemed to like the idea of rainbow coasters when I showed you the ones I made in June but they only had five rows.


So I decided to make some coasters about the same size but with exactly seven rows. I had intended to give my daughter rainbow coasters for her last birthday but hadn’t got round to it so this killed two birds with one stone as it were.

I decided it would be fun to do the colours in standard rainbow order: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet, both from edge to inside and from inside to edge.

Here is a close-up of the first one


and the other


I think they are really jolly and my daughter likes them so that is good.

Which colourway do you prefer?