Starting the cables!

Following on from last week’s post I decided to start working on the cabled cushion cover.

First I made a sample swatch. SampleFor the first part I cast on 20 stitches to check the tension. As usual, I discovered that I knit to the right tension using the needle size recommended.

I then worked a few rows of the simple braid, to check I could do it.

Then I cast on an extra four stitches at each end to give 28 stitches so I could practice the more complicated part of the pattern which is charted over 24 stitches. (Two stocking stitches added at each end).

I was fine until about row 6/7 when I found I made mistakes and dropped a couple of stitches. (Not helped by using a too short (for me) cable needle so the stitches kept slipping off!)

Eventually I got this bit correct (or almost) after undoing a couple of rows twice!

This exercise was actually very useful as by the end I was beginning to understand the charts and to realise that the surface was either stocking stitch or reverse stocking stitch so if the stitches I needed for the next cable bit looked wrong it probably meant I wasn’t where I thought I was!

corrected one repeat
Replacement photograph!

Thus I found that I have managed to knit the first sixteen rows of the main chart, which is the repeat, and it looks okay and wasn’t as hard as I thought! I might even be able to do it in company! (I found my longer cable needles, though I seem to have mislaid the thicker one half way through!)

One repeat of cable patternHaving written the above and knitted another couple of rows I realised that I had made a mistake on the left-hand simple braid and so I had to undo a few rows. the mistake had been on row 14 of a 16 repeat so more undoing than I would have liked! You can see the mistake if you click on the thumbnail on the left!!

I  think I need about five more of the above for the full cover.

Interestingly, I am finding that my reduced energy levels and emphasis on looking after myself means that instead of the normal sense of pressure to knit or crochet all evening so as to complete the latest project and get onto the next one and thus have something for the blog, I am sometimes actually watching TV with no knitting and just pick it up when I feel in the mood. In fact I am probably watching more TV without knitting than with. I think I like this more relaxed approach.


Just a bit of a catch up

Started into the chemo last week. I found the most tiring aspect was not, as yet, a side effect but having to make sure that I did not encounter cold: objects, food, drink or air. At least this only applies for the first few days so should wear off soon! However having to boil a kettle every time you want a drink, even just to take a few pills (and there have been lots of pills!) is a bit if a pain and gets wearing.

All this has made me think more of just resting in between, not even done much sock knitting (except when hospital appointment was delayed by an hour and a half!)

Also my daughter came to stay for a couple nights and we had a lovely day on Saturday, visiting the Sea City Museum in the morning, then going to a Greek restaurant for a late lunch followed by home by teatime for a restful evening.

I did think however that I could share with you the next knitting project on my list that I am a little afraid to start in case a make a mess of it.

If you remember this recent crochet that I was going to use as a cushion cover. cushion coverWell the big question was what to do for the other side.

In the end I thought of this cardigan cardiganThat was meant to wear over summer t-shirts but makes my arms itch. Now I have quite a lot of  wool over which is obviously not very suitable for clothing and decided that maybe I could use the wool for the reverse of the cushion and knit a Celtic style cable square. This would give me an opportunity to learn more about cable knitting as so far my only attempt was the collar of this jumper. 

I found a pattern for a celtic style pattern I liked but the chart looks a bit daunting! chartThere is also all the swatching and counting to get the piece the right size. But maybe I might start it soon, with socks for when I go out and this at home.

My Celtic Cushion is finished!

I recently finished the other half of my Celtic cushion cover and joined the two halves together.

I chose to sew the sides together as I thought that would be the easiest in spite of the fact that I don’t like and am not very good at sewing (probably some cause and effect here!).

stitchingI actually sewed from the right side because the stitches would tend to show anyway and I thought this way I would get the neatest result.

As a closure, so I can remove the cushion pad easily should it become necessary, I decided on buttons. buttonsI had thought about clear, virtually invisible, buttons but then I saw these and thought they were very pretty in an understated way.  buttons on cushion

I increased the length of the original side with a few rows of dcs for something to sew the buttons onto then used the natural gaps in the crochet for button holes.

buttons on cushionI think this gives an unobtrusive finish to what I regard as the ‘back’ of the cushion. Though with all my cushions I turn them from time to time to see both sides.

Here you can see the nominal front of the cushion (the side I showed you before). cushion frontAnd the new side that is a variation. other sideI have been having the cushion alongside me on the settee since I made it, so I removed all the mess, to show it off to you. cushion on setteeThe snuggle blanket is there, all ready, for when I need it.

I am very happy with my new cushion and the interleaving layers make it very tactile.

I regard all my cushions as little works of art and here you can see them all in a row. fronts of three cushionsThese are nominally the fronts.

And here are the other sides. other side of three cushionsI think they make a lovely set of cushions to brighten up my sitting room.

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.

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.


Cushion cover revealed

First a bit about the side made out of thirty six one-colour squares.

I started by making some squares out of yarn I had left over from my blanket. Blanket on the setteeLipstick, Pomegranate,Shrimp, Saffron, Citron, Meadow, Sage, Aster, Violet, Plum.

As I mentioned in a previous post the idea was to use these round the outer part and have bi-colour ones in the centre but I couldn’t get that to work so I chose two more colours: Aspen and one colour I had not used in the blanket but had bought as an impulse purchase: one of Stylecraft’s new colours, a dark blue called Lobelia. I thought it was prettier than Royal.

This gave me three each of twelve colours, a total of thirty-six.

I had worked out that a 7×7 square would be too big and a 6×6 square a little too small for a side of the cushion, so I chose to make a 6×6 square with a border. Finished side
This time I decided to crochet the squares together using slip stitches on the wrong side. Slip stitchingThis was much quicker and easier than sewing. Not that I regret sewing the other side of the cushion cover as that would have been tricky to crochet because of the different sizes.

Some information about the other side. Cushion cover - first side that was madeThere I had used only seven ‘rainbow’ colours: leftovers from the blanket again – Lipstick, Pomegranate, Shrimp, Spice, Saffron, Citron, Meadow, Sage, Aster, Violet, Plum. Again I had added the Lobelia as an ‘indigo’ colour.

And here is the finished cushion. Final cushion first sideand the other side. Final cushion second sideIt was hard to decide how to close the cushion so I decided to crochet all the way round leaving the ends easy to get at so if I needed to wash the cover at some future time I could pull out the crochet round the last side and re crochet afterwards.

And here a couple of picture of my old and new cushions.Two cushions first sidesandTwo cushions second sidesThese are two cushions not four! I can just mix and match which side is showing.

Three choices – my choice

It was interesting to see that your preferences seemed to be evenly spread between the three possible choices.

Number two was actually the first arrangement I tried out. First arrangementBut I had wanted something where the colours flowed into each other and with the bright red diagonal in particular I felt that this was breaking up into triangles.

So I tried again. Chosen arrangementThis I felt gave that sense of flow I wanted and I think that was what Nanacathy saw.

Having realised that there were only three totally different arrangements if I kept the basic pattern and colour order, I laid out the last arrangement which was given as the first of the three. Third arrangementThis, to my mind, very much dived the shape into squares. A red-orange square, a yellow-green square, a greeny-blue square and a dark blue-purple square.

This made me certain that I would use the pattern shown as three in my arrangement. All three choicesThe squares, the triangles and my chosen one.

All attractive in their own way.

I have joined the squares and will show you them next week and maybe the finished cushion if I have got that far. It seemed too much to add to this post.

Three choices

I have finished all the squares for the other side of my cushion cover and been arranging them and rearranging them to decide how to join them together.

My first idea had been to do a few in solid colours then a few in two colours and blend them together but after using up a lot of the yarn left over from my blanket making about thirty squares, I couldn’t work out how to fit them together with some bicolour ones so I chose two other colours and made just one-colour ones.

There are just three possible ways to arrange them if I want them in a sort of rainbow order round the centre.

All three choices

Now I must admit I have decided which I am going to use but I thought it would be interesting to ask you which arrangement you would find most pleasing for a cushion cover as I feel each has a distinct character.

Here are the three choices in a logical order. Choice oneand Choice twoand Choice threeand all together again. All three choicesSo which would be your choice?

A Crochet cushion cover

Do you remember when I showed you this teaser. TeaserWell the squares on the left were for one side of a cushion cover. So are the ones on the right but I haven’t made the full set yet.

Now I haven’t done much crochet since I made these and it seems to have been all knitting. I started sewing them together – yes! sewing though it isn’t my joining method of choice as any other method seemed too tricky – some few weeks ago but I started by using some left over ‘camel’ coloured yarn and I decided that showed up too much and that black would be better. I didn’t have any black yarn.

Now having finally got around to buying some black yarn and spending the time on sewing them together I can show you the finished side for a cushion. Cushion cover I have worked a couple of rows of dcs (US scs) round the edge but will have to leave that now till I make the other side.

I have been planning to make this for a long, long time.

I was first inspired seeing THIS BLANKET. I knew I didn’t want to make a whole blanket but I thought I could consider making a cushion cover.

So I drew this sketch to see how I might arrange the squares to give the right effect. Initial sketchMore recently, after I had finished my recent snuggle blanket, I sat down drew a larger version and coloured it in with an eye to using some of the yarn left over from the blanket. Coloured planIt may not be obvious but I mainly chose shades that were different to those I would normally use for a rainbow inspired selection. Spice instead of jaffa for instance.Cushion coverWhen it is finished I think it will make a colourful companion to this one. Previous cushion

A new Cafetière Cosy

A long time ago I made a cosy for my 2 cup cafetière.Cafetiere cosiesThat’s the smaller one in the picture.

Well the cosy on the larger one has already been replaced and recently I decided that the small one was stained, rubbed and saggy and that I should make a new one.Old cosyNow my cafetière Cosies have always been an excuse to try out a new crochet pattern and this time was no exception.

I had seen a pattern that I wanted to try and although I couldn’t remember where I had seen it I started working on it.First try Now I knew that the idea was to turn the chain strips into a plait but I just couldn’t remember how to do it.

I tried a search for crochet patterns using the word ‘plait’ but no luck.

I later discovered that ‘braid’ gave me something but in the end I discovered that this sort of pattern is described as ‘Jacob’s Ladder’. Now I know all about Jacob’s ladder – Genesis 28:12 – but quite why this has that name I am not sure.

Now I could make the plaits.Plaitbut I didn’t like the thin stripes so I decided to use trebles (US – dcs) instead of dcs (US – scs). I found a helpful hint that the chain strips should be twice the number of chains the stitch is equal to plus 1. So for a treble (US – dc) the number would be seven.

I think you can see that the above is just several (5) dcs followed by 5 ch, repeated.

Here is what I made for the cafetière.Just the cosyThe reason I chose three colours was because I had discovered when I started to teach my granddaughter crochet that if you use three colours you don’t have to break the yarn you can just thread it up the side. So less ends to sew in. Yay!

And here is it on the cafetière.Cosy on cafeteireAnd the side with the buttons.Cosy on cafeteire button sideThe buttons are just old used ones I had in my button jar.

So that is what I have been doing lately.

I have also made a few more cross bookmarks.More cross bookmarksand I must show you this cushion I bought from Ikea for lumber support.Ikea cushionIn time I may make it a crochet cover but I did think it was rather fun. It makes me want to embroider the birds like they are a transfer or colour them in like a colouring book.