Monday, 20 July 2015

Have Sunday mornings ever looked so nice?

Woke up on Sunday morning, nice and early, to bright sunshine. Not a regular occurrence in the UK, so worth making the most of. Made myself a lovely cup of tea, served in my 750ml floral cup and got out my latest project: a cushion cover of odds and ends made into solid granny squares. I spent 2 hours soaking up the sun, making a huge number of little squares that will be joined together using the join-as-you-go method with red wool.

As you can see from my "into the sun" shot - it was warm - beautifully warm. Blissful in fact. The whole family stayed in bed, while I appreciated our newly cleaned garden. So the blissful bit might have come from being alone. Sometimes you just need it...alone with nothing but your thoughts and a crochet hook.

I thought I deserved a break after spending 4 hours on Saturday making the garden look like this. Oh my aching back!

Friday, 26 June 2015

Everyone loves bunting (and Summer)

Lilies were my Mum's favourite flower, but when I was a child I couldn't bear the stamens (the orange bits that stick out of the middle of the flower) - they gave me running eyes and the sneezes. They still do - but I buy them anyway just to remind me of her. Mum used to pinch out the stamens just for me - but then you lost the gorgeous smell. I have decided to grin and bear it...or should I say sniff and bear it?

Lilies also remind me of Christmas...I am a southern hemisphere girl, remember. We would have the whole house adorned with these at Christmas time, stinking up the place but performing the perfect backdrop to the tinsel and pine Christmas tree. So this is my own little piece of a mid-summer Christmas - in June.

As you can see, this is also my workspace. My own little corner of the living room where the sun peeks through in the late afternoon. Sometimes it is cluttered and somewhat unruly and at other times it is a tiny little piece of heaven. As you can see the heaven bit happens when my computer is turned off.

So, bunting...I have steadfastly avoided it, despite being an avid crocheter. It all seems a little twee and kitsch. I love making bunting-like shapes that become placemats and coasters. But the thought of stringing them up for purposes of nothing but display made me feel a little ill. Until I got the lilies. The light shining through the window, the trees beyond, the pink of the flowers...OK, bunting, you have me hooked!

A quick search through my collection of old Simply Crochet magazines revealed a great bunting pattern in this one...

...and my very first string of bunting was born.

I believe I might be hooked (so to speak!).

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Remember the retro blanket...?

Well, it was finished some time ago. That Attic 24 inspired, Stylecraft Special DK stripey monstrosity. It now takes pride of place on our bed and is patiently waiting for us to re-wallpaper the wall behind to match. We did buy new blinds for the window in a lovely shade of green - but then ran out of steam. The wardrobe doors are also in a state of distress owing to the fact they were stripped but never painted... that's not good "shabby chic distressed" either. Its the bad kind.

This was the first time I had tried a ripple and I am really pleased. We decided that it didn't need a border and I was too excited to put it on the bed in any case. That might be a project for another day. But actually, I like the ripply edge.

Yes, you have noticed correctly. It doesn't quite fit our double bed and is really only for a single bed. I blame my lack of skills in the measuring department. 

The next blanket I tackled was for our teenage son and as you can see, it has been a big hit. All those tiny circles and squares were inexpertly stitched together over two weeks. It felt as though making all the squares was quicker! Once again, the trusty Stylecraft Special DK was used - making this a very inexpensive cover for his bed.

I undertook this task in my usual organised way and the process was so exciting. I made around 150 tiny circles, and built them up one by one with layers of colour. Then made each of those large and small circles into squares. It was fun to watch each pile getting increasingly larger in height and in diameter! I counted and recounted many times and laid it out on the floor dozens of times. The arrangement was the most exciting part.

Needless to say, teenage son was not bothered with whether one large circle was perfectly placed or not. But at least his bedroom is looking much cooler!

The next blanket project is a baby blanket for my friends new grandson to be. Ideas gratefully received.

Monday, 8 June 2015

Workshops starting again!

Check out my workshop page for more details of workshops for beginners this month. They will be held at the Chineham Village Hall and are open to all (but not children unfortunately...). Looking forward to seeing you there!

Monday, 17 March 2014

I am not the house-wifey type....but

I don't know what it was - the sun maybe - but this weekend I managed to prove myself to be the perfect wife and mother. Now anyone who knows me will be aware that cooking and cleaning are not my forte. In fact, I will pretty much do anything to avoid both of these things, if I can. Luckily my husband is a great cook and likes to do it and well, the house just gets cleaned as and when it needs it.

But for whatever reason, this weekend I got the bug. It started with an early morning on Saturday. We are Formula 1 fans and the first race weekend of the season started at 5am Saturday morning and we were up and watching. That led to a morning in the garden raking leaves and sweeping up decking. Then the sewing machine came out (while my bread dough was rising!) and I finally made my granny square cushion. A blog on this will be along soon.

Washing was on the go and drying in the, by now, hot conservatory and the afternoon ended with freshly baked bread and dinner cooked for my hardworking husband, who had to finish off a job on Saturday. The evening was filled with glasses of wine and Mad Men on download.

Bring on Sunday... the early start didn't quite happen and the eventful Formula 1 race was watched via the recording at about 8.30am. But that was OK because as soon as it was over, my daughter and I headed to the shops and bought everything you could think of to have a mega-baking session. We managed to make some passable breakfast muffins, an ugly but yummy pineapple upside-down cake and some rather overdone choc chip cookies.

Then it was a full roast dinner with homemade Yorkshires for the four of us, plus my son's girlfriend. The evening passed with my folding washing ready for the school week and then settling down to a few rows of my ripple blanket and Top Gear.

As you might expect I was pretty much exhausted after all that. Bear in mind that my usual weekend is spent crocheting and listening to the I had an early night and watched Mary Beard on the BBC iPlayer and her fabulous lecture on the silencing of women - recommended.

So even the most undomesticated of us can really get some stuff done when we put our minds to it. Strangely, this motivation has continued into this morning and I got up at 5.30am and have managed to get most of my work out of the way before a trip to the orthodontist with my son. You know what? I might even walk into town to meet him...

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Sixties Ripple Blanket

Just a sneak preview of the ripple blanket I am working on right now. In fact the few rows you can see are what I achieved over the last weekend - now there is even more. It uses the basic ripple pattern from Attic24 and the yarn is the Stylecraft Special DK I bought last week. I have limited myself to just using the green, orange and brown as wider stripes, and each of these is separated by a cream stripe. This colour combo gives it a lovely sixties vibe.

I used 227 stitches on my chain which included the +3 for the turning chain. My hook is a 3.5mm and is giving me a slightly firmer stitch which in this case is a good thing. My tension can be a bit loose sometimes. My hope is that this will fit nicely on our double bed or be the perfect cuddle on the sofa blanket. In any case, this is a long term project, because I suspect it will take me months!!

Also poking out from my somewhat over-burdened yarn basket is my completed granny square cushion cover. It is waiting patiently for me to get out the sewing machine and turn it into something plump and gorgeous for the sofa. Maybe this weekend? My aim is to show how I construct the cushion backing in fabric.

So every couple of weeks I will show my ripple blanket progress, just to show how quickly something like this can grow. It certainly is fun to do and perfect for TV crocheting - very little counting involved and very rhythmical.

Friday, 14 February 2014

Happy Valentines Heart

Happy Valentines to all of you. I thought this was the perfect time to share this little interlocking love heart which I made a few weeks back. It has been happily hanging on the shoe cupboard - kind of in transit to its final home (but it might just stay). Mine doesn't look nearly as neat as the original which can be found here and its construction is tricky. But if you love seeing it all come together at the end - this is the pattern for you. If you are quick, you could rustle this up before your other half gets home. Imagine his delight...

In our house Valentines Day isn't really celebrated - that said, I received a lovely text message with a little poem which was cute and funny and just like my husband. I can do without the flowers and chocolate, when he makes me smile with just a few words....