Happy Easter

A Happy Easter to all my readers! Happy EasterI made this card years ago from a photograph I had taken while at Taize in France.

My eldest decided to pop down on Good Friday for a quick visit. I told her I was planning to make some lemon simnel cupcakes from a recipe I had picked up in Waitrose. She loves marzipan so that was just an extra reason to come.

Recipe here – https://www.waitrose.com/content/waitrose/en/home/recipes/recipe_directory/l/lemon-simnel-cupcakes.html. I used less zest (no sprinkling!) and added some glace cherries that needed to be used up and well you have to have egg shapes on top not balls!

She insisted that I take a photograph so I thought I would share it with you.Simnel cupcakes

Just think of me having one (or two?) for tea. [We all had one on Friday (four of us and I gave her four to take back so I only have four left.) Luckily my son who is coming today doesn’t like them!]

Easter Butterflies

I was originally intending to make more flowers, this year, to go on my Easter tree but instead I made a rainbow set of crochet butterflies.

You normally think, eggs and chicks and rabbits as symbols for Easter but the butterfly is also a good symbol of new life out of death and Spring too.

I used the pattern you can find HERE. I found it quite a long time ago and I liked the way they looked so I have been planning to make some for ages.

0250-butterflyset

They aren’t perfect and I struggled a bit with the triple trebles (UK terminology) but I am getting better at picots.

Here they are on the tree by themselves.

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And here is the tree with the eggs , flowers, rabbit and cross bookmark from last year and also the butterflies.

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To see more about all the things on the tree click on “Easter” from the Tag Cloud.

March Montage

I realised when I had finished the montage that I had left out one week of the CAL but I liked the montage so much otherwise that I decided to leave it as it was.

I can see that, apart from the CAL, I have spent this month on mostly frivolous stuff, so it’s no wonder I that I haven’t started any of my more serious projects.

It’s been fun though 🙂

Making covers for phone and iPod, Easter cards, Easter eggs and even a little Easter rabbit.

Only serious thing is my bed socks. They you may notice are knitted. I do do knitting as well as crochet; it just seems that crochet has really excited me lately.

montage1303large
This seemed fuzzy everytime I reduced it so it is actually a large photo this month.

Extra eggy ideas

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Originally I had thought that I wouldn’t be making any more eggs this year but then I got all sorts of ideas for new types of eggs and had to try them out. A bit of an obsession perhaps, like the snowflakes. 🙂

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I have added the final version of my ‘Basic Crochet egg pattern’ in the ‘My Patterns’ section of the Top Menu.

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For a more interesting texture you could use htrs (US hdcs) for the egg after the initial six dcs (US scs). This does however mean that you can see the stuffing if you look closely. I rather like the way the surface is made up of lots of little inverted triangles.

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Stopping at 18 stitches for a round will give a medium size egg.

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If you have variegated yarn left over from making some bed socks perhaps 🙂 0125-bedsocks you could make a naturally patterned egg. I found that my variegated yarn seemed a little thicker than some and the egg, although a 24 stitch -medium egg, was actually closer in size to the large ones.

0131-bluevariegatedegg

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Crochet Christmas cards
Then again if you have some gold thread left over from making stars for Christmas cards you might have enough to make a golden egg. It was a very close run thing though. I was afraid I would run out before the end.

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Here a 30 stitch egg is still only small.

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And you could use the silver thread left from making the silver stars for the same cards, together with some deep blue cotton DK yarn and make a sparkly midnight sky egg. 18 stitches and a 4.5mm hook gave me a medium egg.

0131-bluesilveregg

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You can even use #10 crochet cotton for a little dainty looking egg. I used 36 stitches here increasing the number of middle rows accordingly.

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Or #20 for a rainbow coloured egg. I decided to increase to 42 stitches this time and the egg came out a similar size to the creamy one.

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This last egg also made me decide that although the original pattern works well enough with acrylic yarn, that is very forgiving, that it would probaly give a better egg shape if at the end one went straight from 12 sts to the last 6 by doing 2dctog for the last row.

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And using DK yarn of any sort, the right size hook, the right number of stitches and rows, if you stop just over half-way through making the egg and then make the bottom half of the egg by increasing three times a row instead of decreasing and then the right number of straight rows you can make a little case to hold a creme egg or other goodies.

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There’s still time to make a few before Easter! 🙂

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I also made one of Janette’s rabbits in #20 cotton, as that is the only one I have in multiple colours, to add to my Easter Tree.

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And here is a picture of the Easter tree with the extra eggs, the crosses I didn’t use for Easter cards and the rabbit.

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Easter cards

I made some crochet cards at Christmas with removable stars but it seemed to me after I had got into making bookmarks that cards incorporating removable bookmarks would be even more worthwhile.

Now I am not really an Easter card sending person but where people have sent me cards in the past, I have felt the need to respond. So I decided that Easter cards incorporating cross bookmarks would be something I could make for this year as I only had a few to send.

Now one of the Easter cards I get is from people who are, as far as I know, not at all religious, so for them I made this card. Quite quick and simple because I wasn’t sure what to make and as time was running short (they live in the U.S.) I had to buckle down and produce something. 🙂

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But I had already started on my cross bookmarks for my christian friends.

As with the eggs, I started by looking on Google for ones I liked and used that as a way in to some free patterns.

http://www.crochetnmore.com/bonniescrossbookmark.htm

http://craftpals.com/bible-crafts/cross-bookmark.shtml

I expect you can see their influence in what I chose to make in the end.

However both these patterns used dcs (UK trs) and when I started making them in my #20 cotton I felt that the stitches were too small and decided that I wanted to make the same shapes (reminiscent of the pineapple ‘shell over shell’) but using trs (UK dtrs).

So using the picture from the first link as a starting point I made this:-

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As you can see, on my cross the arms are further up and there are less ‘shells’ as mine are longer.

I liked the idea of a contrasting edge, that I had adopted from other pictures I had seen, but overall I was not entirely happy with it as I felt the stitches were too loose and that made it too flimsy so I decided to try again with my #10 cotton.

I only have one ball of this so I abandoned the contrasing edging and produced this:-

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This was much better (I had used the same size hook). I had also decided that a picot edge could look quite appealing and adapted the method of making picots from the ‘fan bookmark’ pattern.

The other pattern I had found had had a positive centre and so I made another cross this time starting from a central boss.

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Finally I got out a smaller hook and made a cross similar to the first cross, though using the second pattern and a picot edge this time.

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This was acceptable.

I will add the patterns at the bottom of the post.

At first I hung the bookmarks on my Easter tree but it the meantime I went to ‘Paperchase’ and bought some folded card and matching envelopes as I had for Christmas.

I would have preferred a slightly less acid green but I bought three lots anyway, brought them home and printed a greeting inside.

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Then all that was left was to attach the bookmarks to the front of the card, which I did in a similar way to those I made at Christmas but more simply.

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Giving me three cards to send to people.

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Realising that up to now I have not made any bookmarks for myself I made a cross bookmark using the second pattern with my pastel rainbow mix #20 cotton.

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Having bought myself a 1mm hook this was a lot easier than the one for the cards made in #20 cotton as I was then using a smaller hook out of the ones inherited from my mother that was probably .75mm or less.

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The patterns are very straightforward.

Pattern 1

UK version

I used a magic loop to start as I am finally getting to like it but you could use a four chain loop if you prefer.

To make the upright.

Start: Into the loop work, 4ch (=1st dtr), 3dtr, 2ch, 4dtr, 4ch and turn.

Row 1: Work 3dtr, 2ch, 3dtr into 2ch gap of row below then 1dtr into fourth chain, 4ch and turn

Repeat this row until you have made 14 shells, omitting the 4ch on the last row, and finish off yarn.

To make the arms.

Now working into the 4ch gap between ninth and tenth shells for one and the dtr gap between ninth and tenth shells for the other.

Join thread at the right, 4ch, 3dtr, 2ch, 4dtr , 4ch and turn

Then repeat row 1, three times , finishing off the last row as before, unless you are making the edging in the same colour when you can leave the thread for the second arm to continue working the edging.

[I find it very hard to find a suitable needle to sew in the ends of crochet cotton, as if the eye is big enough to thread then the needles is hard to force through the fabric. But here by creating an edge you can crochet over all the ends but the last and so save some work.]

To create an edging.

Using the same or a contrasting thread and turning the cross over but

Starting where you are, work 1ch then (dc,2ch, dc) twice into each of the 4ch or dtr gaps round the edge. ( I only worked the (dc, 2ch, dc) once either side of the inner corners of the cross shape as that keeps it flatter.)

For the ends of the arms I worked (dc, 2ch, dc) into the first 2 dtrs, then dc into the next dtr, 2ch, dc into the gap. Then the reverse for the other side.

To finish off, I used a double strand of thread and crocheted a chain of about twenty six stitches, joined the last six ch in a loop with a slst and worked dcs all the way round the loop. I found this took about 1.5m doubled.

But you could work this at the bottom of the cross if you prefer or add a tassel.

Pattern 2

UK version

I used a magic loop to start as I am finally getting to like it but you could use a eight chain loop if you prefer.

To make the centre.

Start: Into the loop work, 4ch (=1st dtr), 2dtr, 2ch then  (3dtr, 2ch) seven times. Join with a slst into the fourth chain.

To make the arms.

Row 1: 4ch then 3dtr, 2ch, 3dtr into gap to the left, dtr into ch nearest 1dtr of row below. 4ch and turn.

Row 2: Work 3dtr, 2ch, 3dtr into 2ch gap of row below then 1dtr into fourth chain, 4ch and turn

Repeat Row 2 until you have made 3 more shells (that’s four in total for the arm), omitting the 4ch on the last row, and finish off yarn.

Rejoin the yarn to make two more arms as above then finish by doing an arm with an extra four shells to make the upright but do not finish off the yarn unless you are using a contrasting colour.

[I find it very hard to find a suitable needle to sew in the ends of crochet cotton, as if the eye is big enough to thread then the needles is hard to force through the fabric. But here by creating an edge you can crochet over all the ends but the last and the one at the beginning and so save some work.]

To create an edging.

Using the same or a contrasting thread and turning the cross over but

Starting where you are work 1ch then the edging for the end of the arms thus:  dc, 2ch, dc into the first 2 dtrs, then dc into the next dtr, 2ch, dc into the gap. Then the reverse for the other side.

The work dc,2ch, dc twice into each of the 4ch or dtr gaps round the edge. ( I only worked the dc, 2ch, dc once either side of the inner corners of the cross shape as that keeps it flatter.)

And the edging for the end of the arms as described above.

To finish off, I used a double strand of thread and crocheted a chain of about twenty six stitches, joined the last six ch in a loop with a slst and worked dcs all the way round the loop. I found this took about 1.5m doubled.

But you could work this at the bottom of the cross if you prefer or add a tassel.

I hope this doesn’t sound too complicated, it is really straightforward once you get into it.

I have included the relevant patterns but only in a UK version because I don’t really know if they are likely to be of interest to anyone. If anyone thinks I should do a US version or a more precise version or should include it in my patterns at the top, please let me know.

A Dozen Eggs!

Since Maryanne suggested that it would be a good idea to have some Easter related entries for the ‘Made It’ monthly challenge, I decided to try my hand at crochet eggs.

I have realised that it is being impatient and lazy that leads me to write my own patterns.

I start out due to this laziness and impatience looking for other people’s patterns because I think that is the quicker and easier option but then if I discover that the patterns are not all the same, so I don’t know which will be best or else I find them hard to understand, I decide that actually the quickest and easiest thing to do will be to get some yarn and a hook and work up my own.

And so it was with crochet eggs.

I know lots of people would have created a beautiful co-ordinating set but my collection, I am afraid, is more eclectic.

I gathered together

1.

The scraps of yarn left from my hexagon blanket. Blanket on bed

2.

Finished clothThe cotton yarn left from my ‘flower cloth’. I especially liked using these as they gave a smooth finish with a slight sheen.

3.

AnAll my coloursd the ends of balls I am using for the CAL. I found these colours seemed more suitable than the ones for the blanket.

First of all I made this one.

Not too big so I could finish it quickly.

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Then another couple with more of an effort to consider what the pattern was.

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They were even smaller but I thought rather sweet.

Next I decided to try to incorporate the ‘Linen’ stitch that I used for my phone cover.

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The purple one came out a bit miss-shapen, so I added a little flower to detract from the shape.

I tried stripey ones in different sizes. By now I had a definite pattern that could be worked in three sizes (or more).

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I liked these as there was no need to keep joining in new yarn. It could just be alternated.

And of course I had to make some rainbow ones.

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Only six! colours but then a rainbow is probably only said to have seven colours because people were obsessed with sevens at the time and thought of it as the ‘perfect’ number; although when mathematicians talk of ‘perfect’ numbers they mean something different.

So now I had

Five small ones,

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Four medium ones

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and

Three egg sized ones.

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The first eggs I made and those using the linen stitch came out slightly different sizes but

The pattern is basically:

6dc (US sc) into a magic loop. [6dcs ]

Next row: 2dcs into each dc. [12dcs]

Continue increasing six times each row until you get to 18dcs (small), 24dcs (medium) or 30 (large=UK medium/large egg size with DK yarn and 3.5mm hook).

Then work 5 rows small, 6 rows medium or 7 rows large before decreasing. I hope you can see the pattern here if you want to make even bigger ones!

Decrease three times every row (eg. {7dc, 2dctog, 1dc} x3, for first decrease for large.) until only 6dc are left.

Start stuffing about halfway through the decreases. I found I normally pushed a last bit of stuffing through the final hole with the end of my crochet hook.

Draw remaining thread through stitches and fasten off.

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Whether you work in rounds or a spiral I found to be a mootish point as I couldn’t make the joins for the rows invisible, so I moved onto doing them in a spiral as they both gave a sense of discontinuity when working in more than one colour but the spiral was neater.

I did work in rounds for the linen stitch ones as there I could hide the join more successfully.

And here is my Easter Tree.

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I have added a few flowers and as Easter is the major Christian festival, the crosses but more of those next week.

Maybe in time (like next year) I may make more things to add.