Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Dot Picots

I was a bit dubious when I first read about Usha's invention,  dot picots, because it involves frequently having to swap shuttles. But in practice it's easy enough to swap shuttles and it's very effective. A dot picot is a 'ring' with just one double stitch, made with the second shuttle. It creates an interesting textured look. I like muskaan's  working of Usha's pattern, where the beads echo the dot picots.

Monday, May 22, 2017


This is another combination of beaded crochet and Clare Gaylard glass.  I kept the crochet simple so that the glass beads are the main feature. Here's a picture of the work in progress, to give some idea of how it's done:

Friday, May 19, 2017


This is a 'for the record' progress report. I've crocheted 30 squares so far. I'm working on these mainly in the evenings, so I'm happy enough with that.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Leaves and Flowers

There's sometimes a long gap between having an idea and actually carrying out. I've been meaning for some time to try combining beaded crochet with Clare Gaylard's glass.  I tried a sample first, just to see if it would work:
It did work, better than I'd hoped. I threaded the glass leaf onto the thread as part of the beading pattern. It hung down on a loop of thread and I could continue with the seed bead pattern.

 I wasn't really happy with the beaded crochet pattern I'd used. The big flower looks good in the flat pattern, but disappears in the round. I also thought the red was a bit overwhelming.  I looked for a pattern with smaller flowers and settled on one by kolorowekoraliki.pl.  I think it works better.  Here's a closer view:

Tuesday, May 16, 2017


Winter is rapidly approaching and the first frost will wipe out the rest of the tomato crop in the vegetable garden. Jack has been picking tomatoes rather green and ripening them on the windowsill, which works well. I've been cooking them up with onion and celery and freezing them in small batches, so that we can go on enjoying them during Winter.


I'm working on squares for Annika's blanket. There's a long way to go, but square by square I'll get there.

Monday, May 15, 2017


Tra-la. I've finished Renata's 2017 doily. Thanks Renata, I love the design and I'm very happy with how it has turned out. It measures 46 cm/ 18 inches across, in size 40 thread. Here's a link to the last round. All the other rounds can be found on her blog, or you can buy the whole pattern in Renata's etsy shop.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Working On The Final Round

Round 13 is zipping along. I'm using a few very small picots to add stability. I could've done this round with shuttle and ball. I thought that the outermost ring would have to be done with a second shuttle, but that's not the case. But using the second shuttle means I can do a Catherine Wheel join at the top, so that's fine.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Rolling, Rolling, Rolling

I quite like rolling skeins into balls by hand. I like the feel of the wool and winding this way and that to get a neat ball. But it's very time consuming. With a lot of skeins to wind, it makes much more sense to set up the skein holder and ball winder:

When all goes well, a skein  winds into a ball in a couple of minutes. But some skeins become very muddled during the dyeing process and untangling them can be tedious and time consuming, whatever method you use. I still have more spinning to do for my blanket, but all the dyeing is done and that wool now rolled into balls, ready to crochet.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

More Dye Experiments

A question from muskaan on this earlier post got me thinking. I decided to try dyeing peach again and then overdye the uneven one in a darker shade.

It came out much better.  And the darker shade looks fine too:
So, notes to self, here's what I did:
1. Mix up dye powder, dishwashing liquid and water in a big bucket - any constriction will cause the dyeing to be uneven.
2. Add the wool dry. (Last time I washed the wool and put it into the dye bath wet.)
3. Leave to soak for 15 minutes.
4. Lift up the wool and add a cupful of vinegar to the dye bath.
5. Leave for another 15 minutes.
6. Put into cold oven and set it to 70 degrees C.
7. After 10 minutes, adjust to 110 degrees C.
8. After 15 minutes, turn yarn over.
9. Leave for another 15 minutes, then turn oven off and leave for another 15 minutes.
10. Open oven door and leave wool to cool.
11. Rinse and hang up to dry.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Round 12

I've finished round 12. I love the way the points of the doily are gradually emerging.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Half Way

After a pleasant morning's tatting, I'm half way around Round 12  of the Renulek doily.  I think I'll do some spinning now and come back to it tomorrow.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Dye Experiments

When I did a lot of dyeing, I had an enormous stainless steel bucket that could easily handle a kilogram of yarn. These days I normally dye yarn in very small quantities in my microwave or oven. If I have to dye more than a couple of skeins, I dye a multicoloured or multishade yarn so that I don't have to worry about evenness. But today I had a go at dyeing bigger batches of a single colour. I thought that if I soaked the yarn in a plastic bucket of dye water and then put it into the oven to set the dye, that might work  The results were mixed. I did learn that I must soak the yarn in dye and water without vinegar (acid) for a while before adding the vinegar. The green came out pretty well, the yellow and peach not so much, though they'll be fine for the blanket project. I still have one more dyelot to do, but I have to finish spinning it first!
This is the yellow in an oven bag, ready to go into the oven. The oven bag works well to prevent it drying out.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Working on Round 11

I'm working on round 11. I've taken a leaf from Jane Eborall's book and joined the two long chains with a very small picot to stabilise them so they're not tempted to overlap.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Small Version

I reduced the stitch count on Nicola Bowersox's Kiss Curl Heart, to make a smaller version, It's quicker to tat, of course, so I'm now on track to finish all the flannel wraps on time.

Friday, April 28, 2017


The flannel wraps I'm making are to be sent to a heart hospital in Cape Town. I guess 'heart hospital' is not a technical term, but you can read about the hospital here if you want to. Anyway, I thought that adding a tatted heart to the blankets would be appropriate. I've used muskaan's block tatted hearts and Nicola Bowersox's Kiss Curl Heart. I still have a lot of blankets to hem and not a lot of time, so I'm not sure I can make hearts for them all, but so far so good.

Thursday, April 27, 2017


Round 11 of the Renulek doily has been released. I've made myself a very scruffy sketch to guide me, but I have another job I must get on with. I'm hemming flannel baby wraps for a charity project. I should finish up with 22, so it's quite a big job. I might just have to take some time off to start round 11.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Planning The Next Blanket

The next blanket is for my youngest grandchild, Annika. I've seen several examples on Pinterest of blankets made with asymmetrical granny squares. I'm not sure about the terminology: they seem to be called mitred squares, but mitred squares also refers to another sort of square where decreases are made in the middle, similar to a mitred corner in sewing. I found this example by marrietta.ru which has a chart and, importantly for me, a photo showing the different stages of making the square. It took me a few goes, using scraps, to get a square that looked right - it's not as simple as it seems! I think that a blanket will look best if I use the same colours throughout, rather than my usual practice of using an array of colours. So I deconstructed the square, wound the yarn onto my niddy noddy and worked out how much of each colour I'll need to make 117 squares, the number I used for the flower garden blanket. Right. So now I have a lot of spinning ahead of me before I can start crocheting the blanket.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Round 10

Round 10 is done. Each repeat took me 15 minutes. There are 24 repeats, so that's 6 hours for the round. Plus, of course, time for filling shuttles with thread and the odd untatting episode when I joined a ring to the wrong place. The diameter now is 38 cm/15 inches.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Round Nine

Right, I've finished round 9. Round 10 has already been released, so I'm a bit behind. I've sketched out round 10 before it disappears too far down Renata's blog page!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017


Tatting the Renulek doily doesn't mesh well with baking bread and cleaning kitchen cupboards! But I'll get there eventually.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Half Way

I'm half way through round 9.

This doily has a home to go to, so I'm happy about that. My neighbour Dorie is going to ask her husband to make a wooden frame for it so that she can hang it on her wall.

Monday, April 17, 2017

(Waist)Coat of Many Colours

I've finished my waistcoat. I tried to take a selfie, but that didn't really work, so I took a photo in a mirror. In retrospect, I should've made the half circles on the front the same colour on each side so that together they made a whole circle. Ah well, that's a minor point, overall I'm very happy with it.

To recap, the motif pattern is Atty's Little Dots pattern, which is here . For putting them together to make a waistcoat, I take full responsibility. It was a great way to use up short bits of handspun wool left over from crocheting blankets. It'll be warm and should brighten any Winter day!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Working on Round 9

Round 9 looks quite tricky, so I used thread left on the shuttles to tat a practice repeat. That enabled me to check my scribbled diagram as well as work out where to swap shuttles and what size the picots should be. I've used too long a picot for the 'quad', it looks ugly, so I know to watch out for that.
I've made a start:

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Changing Tack

The waistcoat is very slow moving, so I thought perhaps it was time to take a break from it and do something else. I've been wanting to try beaded crochet ropes using different size beads. I was thinking of this picture that I first saw on Pinterest, though it turns out when I look at it again that it's not made with beads of different sizes! No matter. After a few false starts I got the hang of it, and I rather like the effect.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Taking Shape

My head boggles every now and then, but I think I have the front of my waistcoat more or less right. I'll need some half-hexagons to straighten out some of the lines. Now for the back...

Monday, April 10, 2017

Caterpillar Update

Remember the great big caterpillar we found? Steve Ogden from Wildlife Insight advised us to put some leaf mould in a container for the caterpillar to burrow into, in the hope that we will see the moth hatch out. The caterpillar duly burrowed beneath the leaf mould. Whether the moth will emerge before Winter, or wait until Spring, we don't know. Of course it may not hatch out at all, or it may hatch out and escape our beady eyes. So it's all a bit iffy. But so far, so good.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

To The Point

I created two triangles for the front of my waistcoat. Now I'm joining them to the back. That means I'll be able to work right across, up to the armholes. I'm making this up as I go along, I hope it'll work!  (Scroll down a couple of posts to find a link to the Atty's dots pattern I'm using for the motifs).

Friday, April 7, 2017

Round 8

I've finished round 8 of the Renulek doily. It measures 28 cm/ 11 inches across now.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Joining The Dots

Atty's Little Dots are joined as you go. The process is a trifle laborious, it's true, but I really like the result. My plan is to make myself a waistcoat. The weather is still warm, but the days are getting shorter and Winter is on its way. I'll need a warm waistcoat! With pointy fronts, of course.


I found the perfect pattern to use very short pieces of coloured wool. It's called Atty's Little Dots and can be found here.  Each dot uses just over a metre/yard of yarn. The pattern uses a centre ring of three chain, but I've used a magic ring. It gives a bigger space to work in, while still finishing up with a neat centre. I learnt to do the magic ring when making amigurumi toys. I see when I investigate now that I've been making a double magic ring, which is fine. I'll continue to use it because it's stronger than the single version and the end doesn't have to be sewn in. Here  is a tutorial for several ways of making a magic ring.