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.


Temperature scarf is now finished

About 1st or 2nd of January I finally finished the knitting of my temperature scarf and then all that was left was tying and cutting the ends. (No sewing in because they were to be inside. Yay!) sewing up the ends and adding some tassels.

So here it is! January starts at the end in the middle of the photograph and the orange stripe, top left, is the hottest day of the year in July when I went to Christchurch.0546-scarf-whole-yearYou may note that although I had a colour for below freezing (purple) and a few reds for hotter temperatures 0437-Temperature chartthat for 2016 the winters have been mild and the summer warm rather than hot. Other years we have had colder winters and hotter summers. However personally I like a more equitable climate.

It was so difficult to take a photograph of me wearing the scarf at home that when one of my Crafty Coffee friends wanted to take a photograph with her phone for the Facebook page I asked if I could have a copy.

Here is the first one where I was feeling anxious and had my hands over the scarf. 0546-wearing-scarf-in-focusas you can see.

And here is another. A much better photograph except that is a bit out of focus! 0546-wearing-scarfYou can see some of the people in the group sitting round the table in the background!

I am really, really pleased with it and because it is double thickness it is very warm and cosy and will stand up to cover my chin if I choose.

I also like the fact that it is longer than my other scarves and I love long tassels on a scarf.

Summer time!

Just an update on my temperature scarf.

Sorry that the colours are not totally acurate. I don’t think digital cameras are worse than film cameras in this respect but I have great difficulty adjusting the photographs to get some colours correct.

This is June, July, August. 0522-june-to-augustNow some people have said to me that they don’t feel they have had a summer this year and I have to admit that June was disappointing as you could never be sure it wasn’t going to rain for pretty much the whole month but July and August were sunny and not too hot. ( I can’t stand too much heat these days.) This means that I never got to use any red as the highest temperatures were mainly a couple of hours after noon, and as I said it wasn’t as hot a summer as I feel we have had recently or in 1975 & 6.

You can see the orange stripe in July that was our mini heat-wave! (the day I went to Christchurch) and we had a hottish spell in late August too.

In recent years I have felt as if Autumn began in August: a nip in the air and the ‘autumn’ smell but not this year and even now it is not really cold in the middle of the day if the sun is out. (Not withstanding that coats and jumpers are needed.)

Here is June to September. You can see the blue coming back that indicates a drop in temperature. 0522-june-to-septemberCompare to March and April0487-March and AprilAnd January and February 0487-January and February

Half way there!

Here is my Temperature Scarf from the beginning of  January to the end of June. Scarf half wayI used a rainbow/spectrum choice of colours from purple as coldest to red as hottest, so you can see we start at the left for January to June on the right. Unfortunately blue shades reproduce very badly on-screen.

Here is a reminder of my temperature colour chart. Temperature chartAnd here is a closer look at different months. January and FebruaryThis is January and February. The cotton represent where you change from one month to another. No below zero temperatures at mid-day but January is the only month where I had to use the darkest blue!

Then March and April. March and AprilYou can see how the paler blue shades start to become more prominent towards the end of March, Even a bright green = hotter day in the middle of April.

Now May and June. You can see how it is getting warmer.May and JuneThe wider band of pale green not long after the beginning of May represent a mini-heatwave. The sort I like when it is not too hot. We had another little heatwave early in June represent by the bright yellow. Unfortunately the bands of paler green towards the end of June could not be called a ‘heatwave’ as it is warmer now but we have had a lot of warm wet days! It seems to be mostly unpredictable showers and sunshine mixed.

Last week we were told that 28th June was the anniversary of the day in 1976 when the temperature in Southampton was 35.6 deg C ( about 96 def F) – the highest recorded temperature here ever apparently! I remember that summer well: lots of heat followed by thunderstorms. This summer though, the way it is going, I think I will be lucky to get as far as orange let alone red!

Oh Woops!

In January I showed you how I was getting on with a temperature scarf in this POST.

I had found a web site that provided graphs of local weather information including temperature spread over the whole day. Here is a typical graph from 3rd March. Typical graphNow I had noticed that some days the temperature I found on the graph was a little higher than that predicted in the weather forecast but that is british weather forecasts for you!

But on the 10th March I got a shock! The graph for the 9th March appeared to give me a mid-day temperature of just over 20 deg C. There was no way the temperature had been that high the day before, so what could be wrong?

Then I realised……………………….

If you look at the graph for that day Tell-tale graph(or the previous one) you will see that there are four coloured lines representing Humidity (blue), Rainfall (red), Temperature (green) and Dew Point (pink). Time is along the x-axis.

Of course I am used to the y-axis being along the left hand side and so I just looked at the numbers nearest the graph on the left without thinking.

BUT NO! that was wrong there were separate scales for humidity and rainfall on the left and the temperature/dew point one was on the right. All colour coded so I should have realised!

All this time I had been reading off the wrong numbers. So I had to undo my scarf back to the first two white rows and start again. Yes, even the first of January had been wrong.

Here is a comparison of the piece I showed you before and the re-knitted January. (Yes the turquoise looks different in each photograph! blue is a tricky colour.)Comparison In the original: February and the beginning of March were all very similar to January but now January is looking colder which is what you would expect.

I started copying out the new temperatures, a few at a time, straight away but wanted to concentrate on finishing my jumper. However since I started a bad cold just before Easter and have been feeling under the weather the last ten days, once I got to a tricky bit of my jumper I switched to re-knitting the temperature scarf and have now got this far. January to MarchThat’s up to the end of March, so only a few days to go to be up to date. I am pleased to see that with the slipped stitches it lies naturally flat. It is also more interesting than when I was choosing the wrong readings!

[The bits of thread you can see mark the month ends.]

Devising a temperature scarf!

I expect it’s no surprise that I was unable to avoid being distracted! despite having a full project list.

You see, I went on Ravelry and found that someone had left me a message asking what colours I had used for my spectrum blanket because they wanted to make a ‘temperature blanket’. I sent them the LINK and wondered what a temperature blanket might be.

When I found out I was quite intrigued and the idea appealed to my scientific mind. Of course I don’t need or want to make another blanket at present so I tried to put the thought out of my mind. However it kept coming back until a little voice in my head said “you don’t need a blanket and it would be too much of a commitment but what about a scarf? You can never have too many scarves!”.

Now the planning thinking about it meant making four different decisions.


Since I am planning a lot of knitting my first thought was to make it a crochet project but what sort of stitch? Now I would like to try the ‘V’ stitch that I have heard other people talking about lately (though I now realise the double sort is what I am using for the edge of my blanket) so I tried out a couple of versions. V stitchBut I rejected it because I wanted a more solid look and unless I only recorded the temperature every other day it would be a crazily long scarf.

By now I realised that only dcs (US-scs) were small enough to allow me to crochet one row a day. I like linen stitch very much and that was my first thought. Linen stitchBut you notice that when you only have one row of a colour it is discontinuous, so I rejected that too!

Then I tried a simple plain row of dcs and that was okay Dcsexcept that when you crochet back and forward some rows appear narrower than others. That was scientifically unattractive so I turned to knitting. (These colours are unlikely to be adjacent on the actual scarf!)

I won’t bore you with my thought on different knitting stitches but in the end I decided that plain stocking stitch was probably best and that I had a choice between a scarf that was a bit less than 4ft or 8ft. 4ft is a bit short for a scarf so I chose the latter which meant two rows per day.


Now the one thing that had worried me all along was the ends.

After my original thoughts on crochet scarves and making samples I decided to short cut the process and go on Google and Ravelry. Here I discovered that other people had also chosen to make a scarf rather that a blanket and I found various crochet ones including one that used linen stitch!

I also found THIS. Here the idea was to make a cowl rather than a scarf but the clever idea was to knit it on circular needles so all the ends would be inside and so didn’t need to be sewn in. And the icing on the cake was that on the first of the two rows in each colour she slipped the first and first of the second half stitches so both edges would look the same. I had considered knitting in a circle to avoid ends but hadn’t been able to decide where to position the mismatch where you change from one colour to another.

I made a sample to see if sixty stitches would be about right Knittingand I got a width of about five inches which seemed quite enough.

She was using Sports weight yarn but since I have always thought that DK was a bit thin for a really warm scarf two sided DK seemed good.


The big question having decided the basics was which temperature did you use? since it can vary quite a bit over twenty-four hours. Do you choose maximum or minimum or an average of the two? My inclination was to go for daytime and therefore maximum temperature.

Now I did briefly think of buying a Max and Min thermometer and putting it in the garden but in the end decided to let other people do the measurements for me.

However by the time I had realised that weather forecasts only tell you what the temperature is expected to be, not what it was, I had found that the nearest weather station at Southampton Airport not only gives out historic data but also graphs showing the change from hour to hour, I therefore decided that I would use the temperature at midday from their graphs.


Now that I knew the sort of temperatures I would be dealing with it was time to choose the colour range.

A lot of people had chosen to change colour every 5 deg F. Now I knew that living in the UK, I would find temperatures quoted in centigrade and chosing a new colour every 3 deg C seemed to work out nicely.

Some people had just used the basic rainbow colours, other people had all sorts of choices, but I decided that my spectrum colours would do as well as any other and so I decided to use them, though I omitted ‘shrimp’ as I thought it fitted least well. Temperature chartI decided that the temperature round here is unlikely to drop much below zero at midday. So -2 to 0 is purple. (If the temperature does go any lower I will use black.)

My temperature range goes up to 39 deg C just to be on the safe side but actually I will be quite happy not to need to use the darkest red.


So that is that and here is the scarf finished up to yesterday’s temperature. Scarf up to 27th As you can see the temperature in January has been fairly stable.

This is a good project to use up oddments of yarn though I may end up having to buy some if I run out of any particular colour.

So Soft Scarf!

Here it is.


And here is my story!

I discovered not long before Christmas that I needed another present and since the person in question didn’t like chocolate, which is always a good option, I thought I would make something.

Remembering how quickly I was able to make a scarf in Super Chunky yarn that seemed like a good idea but what yarn to use and what pattern?

Now, as with so many of my projects, I think I spent more time on the planning and deciding than I did on the making. 🙂

I found a pattern I liked (the one I used in the end) HERE but of course I had to try it out in some odd yarn first to see it in the hand.

I didn’t take pictures of my experiments so you will have to imagine.

I used an oddment of DK yarn and I didn’t like it very much the visible single strands made it look unfinished. But I liked the mesh look so I tried a couple of other mesh stitches but found that I didn’t really like them either. So then I devised a pattern of my own with panels of moss stitch with a double cable stitch (that doesn’t need cable needles) in the middle.

I then decided that I liked the Debbie Bliss Paloma yarn I had seen in the original pattern and so I would buy some for the scarf even though it was a bit pricey. The yarn is 60% baby alpaca and 40% merino wool – so sounded as if it would be very soft. It also was one of the few Super Chunky yarns I could find in the right colour.

I tried to see it (and feel it) in John Lewis but had to buy it from them on-line in the end as they didn’t seem to keep it in stock in my local store. However when it came I found that it was just as soft as I had imagined.

I started out on my self-designed pattern but I didn’t really think it did the yarn justice so after a few rows I had a rethink. Tried a couple of the other mesh patterns I had rejected then went back to the original pattern I had found that is just so easy!!!!! 😆

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You start with an even number of stitches. I used 20.

Then every row is:- Knit 1, then repeat (yarn round needle, purl 2 together) until last stitch which is Knit 1.

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With the very special finish of this yarn it actually looked lovely.


And here is a close up


So having spent quite a few days on all this planning I finally made the scarf in three evenings. It would have taken two but they were shorter than normal evenings! However I still had time in hand before Christmas.

I think the scarf was appreciated but I asked my daughter if she could take a picture of the scarf being worn and none of the photos she sent were quite what I had in mind.

This is the least ‘silly’.


Lovely new yarn!


Over a year ago I saw some yarn like this in a shop in Blackfield and thought it might make an attractive scarf.

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The following winter I discovered that a friend had a scarf that was not rib but looked like the knit side of stocking stitch on both sides and I decided I would like to make such a scarf.

She couldn’t remember how she made it as she made it years ago and she is not really a knitter.

So I put on my thinking cap and came up with this.


The marble yarn at the top is chunky and the recommended needle size is 6mm but I am not sure if to use 6mm needles or something larger to make it looser.

What do you think?

You get a lovely thick fabric knitting like this and it doesn’t curl, 🙂 so would actually also be a good choice for a DK weight scarf .

When I made my rainbow scarf

Rainbow scarf and beret

I chose to alternate the sides for the stocking stitch so it made it bunch a bit and so a bit thicker as DK yarn seems a bit thin for a warm scarf.

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Now Blackfield is a long way away and the shop is apparently under new management so I bought the marble yarn in a local shop last week.

When I went to the shop to buy it I got two balls because although one ball is probably enough for a scarf – I thought “scarf – hat- mittens?”

Now I seem to have made a few hat and scarf combinations in recent years – but you can’t have too many can you?

And some are better for Spring/ Autumn and some for Winter.

In this case I am thinking of winter and I want it to be a warm hat because my super chunky hat


actually is not as warm as my shop bought hat that it was based on

My hat

I think this is because the shop hat has a lining.

So I was thinking that a nice stylish hat (not a simple ‘bobble hat’) was what I wanted. And one which I could line with a piece of satin to keep the draughts out as the black hat is getting a little old now.

So can anyone suggest a good pattern that I might use?

I would be very grateful.

Just a bit of fun!

Well here is my finished Buff®.

It is maybe just a little short of the standard 18″ but not by much and the knitting is fairly stretchy of course anyway.

The whole point of the thing is that you can wear it in a whole variety of ways.

Now the ones you can buy are made of a lightweight fabric that makes it more versatile but not as cosy if you are using it as a hat or scarf.

Because this is knitted I think I would have difficulty using it as a hairband, wristlet or scrunchy but you can just about wear it as a decorative neckerchief.


Sorry! this means lots not especially good pictures of me. I took them with my phone as that seemed the easiest way as the phone lets you take self-portraits.

However more usefully it is good as a cosy scarf

and you could even wear it as a mask for the odd robbery! or to shield you from traffic fumes.


You can also use it as a balaclava

This is similar to my original scarf/hat tube thingy which gave me the idea of making the buff in the first place as it is the same basic knitting pattern.

And with a twist in the middle it is a cosy woollen cap.


If you prefer you could choose the pirate style cap.


or with a flap down the back


As you can see these last two were the hardest to photograph.

And though I can’t quite see the point of wearing it like this, you could wear it ‘sweatband’ style.


My jumper, by the way, is purple not blue.

I do actually think that it will be handy as a scarf when you want something round your neck but without the ends and to wear as a balaclava or cap.

What do you think?

Trying out some ideas

The last couple of weeks I have allowed myself to try out a few ideas instead of starting on a new serious project to run alongside the CAL and granny ripple blanket.

One of these was to make a dishcloth out of ‘dishcloth cotton’.

I bought some dishcloth cotton a while ago with an eye to using it to experiment with things I might make in cotton and perhaps to actually make a dishcloth.

The first two things I discovered were that it was more expensive that I had expected and that it seemed more aran or chunky thickness that DK.

So it wasn’t going to be much good for experiments but I still thought I could make a dishcloth, which was presumably what it was for. 🙂

A friend told me how she knitted dishcloths but I wanted to try crochet. I tried a couple of crochet patterns I found on the web but wasn’t happy with the results.

Square no. 52But when I made square no. 52 for the CAL, I thought that it might make a good basis for a dishcloth as the pattern was essentially reversible and had what I thought was a good surface.

So I crocheted an eight inch square in the cotton, thought it was a bit boring and added a red border with the cotton left over from my ‘flower cloth’.


So how is it as a dishcloth?

Plus points.

  • Although it is thicker than my normal supermarket cotton dishcloth or J-cloth I soon got used to it.
  • It works well and is good at cleaning up mugs used for tea and plates and casseroles.


  • It doesn’t dry overnight like the thinner cloths.
  • I don’t know how long it will be before it gets stained and disgusting looking and I feel I have to replace it.
  • If I have to replace it too often, it will be a pain having to keep making a new one.
  • I haven’t calculated but I am sure it must work out more expensive that supermarket cloths.

So the jury is out on whether I will be making another one. I might try knitting one as that would be looser and may dry quicker.

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0105-lacebookmarksMy nSocksext idea was to see if I could use a modified version of the fan bookmarks and the yarn left over from my socks to make a scarf.


This was all I was able to make from the yarn left over from one of the socks.

I decided

  • I loved the look.
  • (You can’t see the size but) It would be better made in DK weight yarn as it was a bit too narrow.
  • That I would need to buy yarn for such a project but it wouldn’t be cheap.

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Although I am not even half-way with my granny ripple blanket my mind is already looking forward to what I might make for my next blanket.

I rather fancied trying a ‘sea and sand’ coloured blanket and was on the lookout for a good pattern.

I happened to borrow from the library Jan Eaton’s “200 Ripple Stitch Patterns” and found just one pattern that really excited me and made a photocopy.


I thought that this would be just perfect for a ‘sea and sand’ blanket and, looking through the colours I had available, decided I had enough to make something that would give the general idea.

I thought that I could use a demo square of this pattern as a new cafetière cosy but my first attempt using a 4.5 hook, that is probably what I would use for a blanket, was too wide so I tried again with a 4mm hook and produced this.


I did not find it the easiest pattern and  it was not until the last few rows that I was not having to redo many of the ‘htr3tog’ (UK) two, or even three or four times before I could get them right but I love the look and it is worth the effort.

More about the cosy on Monday!

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Lastly I thought I would include an update on my granny ripple blanket.

I think you can now see how the colours go, though they are not entirely accurate in the photograph.