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.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Because I Can

Since I'd managed to work out how to crochet a half star hexagon,(or star half-hexagon)  I thought I might as well do so! So I filled in the spaces at the sides of my blanket. I had a few stars left over, so I recycled those. Two half hexagons use slightly more yarn than one whole one, but I had enough short pieces to make up the difference. I left the ends as zig zags. This is blanket is now ready to be posted off to New Zealand.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Anna Braids

Vandana Gupta asked me in a comment on this post to show more clearly the Anna Burda instructions for the leaf bread. In case the photo isn't clear enough, I'll rewrite the instructions for braid 6: This braid consists of r. of 4-4-8 ds. Draw r. tog. and reverse work. Commence 2nd and each foll. r. after a thread length of half the size of the r. (= 4 ds.), after 4th ds. join to base of antecedent r., end r. with 4-8 ds.

This article was in the May 1984 Anna Burda magazine.

I used split rings to tat the braid in a more 'modern' fashion, as you can see here.

Round 7

I've done Round 7 of the Renulek doily. I'm sure it would be easy enough to climb from one round to the next, but I'm working traditionally, ending off each round and hiding the ends. I like the size 40 thread, very dainty.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Going Halves?

I've finished sewing hexagons together, hooray! Now I must decide whether to leave it like this or fill in the gaps at the side. With the help of this tutorial I worked out a half hexagon:
It might need a bit of tweaking.
I'll think about it as I tat round 7 of Renulek. One of the problems I have is that I measured my skeins so carefully that there's not much over for making half-hexagons!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Monday, March 27, 2017

Joining Hexies

The join-as-you-go method wasn't really working. Perhaps that was because my hexagons have a 'solid' outer row rather than a shell edging. I did some experimenting with different ways of joining the hexagons. Eventually I decided that sewing them together was the best option. There are, of course, different ways of sewing, so I did some more experiments and plumped for whip stitch through the back loops of the outer row. This makes a faint ridge on the front, which adds definition without being too obtrusive.
I crochet the white round and then leave a long tail to use to sew it to the previous hexagon. This saves working in two ends.
I join a row together and then sew that row to the blanket, with the work flat on the table.
So, I have my system, I've just got to put all the hexagons together.

For those following the caterpillar saga, Steve Ogden from Wildlife Insights says it's a Speckled Emperor Moth caterpillar. So he's narrowed it down even further.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Round 6 and Emperor Moth Caterpillar

I've done round 6  of the Renulek doily.

I sent the photos of the very large caterpillar to Steve Ogden from Wildlife Insights . He replied very promptly and said he thinks our caterpillar might be an Emperor Moth caterpillar. He also thinks that the druiwewurm on my neighbours' grapevines might be a Hawkmoth (hats off to you Diane!) The Emperor one feeds on acacia, which is where Jack found this one, whereas the Hawkmoth feeds on vines.  We left the caterpillar on the acacia tree, but we'll see if we can find it once it pupates and put in in a box so that we can see what it turns into. We won't hold our breaths though; apparently it will take a long time and may not happen at all.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

This and That

We had a neighbourhood gathering last evening, so I asked my neighbours about yesterday's big, green caterpillar. They said it's called a 'druiwewurm'. That translates as grape worm. I googled it this morning and found absolutely nothing resembling my caterpillar. But it's a start. Thanks to those who have had a go at identifying it!

Yesterday afternoon I shuffled stars and decided on an arrangement of colours:
I piled up each row and numbered them so that I can keep track. I made a start on crocheting an outer row, joining as I go. I used this tutorial to help me. I'm not quite confident about it yet, I may have to make some changes, which is why I haven't threaded the ends in:
At the moment I'm working on round 6 of the Renulek doily:


Jack found an enormous caterpillar in the yard a few days ago. It brought to mind a nursery rhyme I used to say to my children:
Little Arabella Miller
Found a furry caterpillar.
First it crawled upon her mother
Then upon her baby brother.
Folk said, 'Arabella Miller,
Take away that caterpillar'.

I think Wendy and I must be on the same wavelength, only my caterpillar is not furry and hers is not a caterpillar!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Variegated Stars

Some of the colourways work better than others, but I think if they're judiciously spread through my blanket, they'll add the right amount of twinkle.

Sunday, March 19, 2017


I've largely avoided dyeing variegated colours for my blankets because I thought they'd be too muddled. But for this blanket where the motif is done without changing yarns, I think they'll work. I'll have to crochet a few stars to be sure. How did I create them? I poured the different dyes over the soaked wool and then set the dye for 3 minutes in the microwave oven.

Saturday, March 18, 2017


It seems impossible that all the wool in the basket will fit onto the spinning wheel bobbin, but it will. I broke off equal lengths of wool roving and the first one has fitted onto bobbin one, so this lot will fit onto bobbin two.

Friday, March 17, 2017

50 Stars

I have 50 stars done towards my blanket, which feels like a minor milestone. Now I must spin another batch of wool.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Round 5 of Renulek

The tension on my Round 5 chains is not perfect. I don't feel like redoing the round, so I hope that the following rounds will disguise their unevenness!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Walk Before You Run, Jane

When I saw Wayuu bags on Pinterest, I thought wow, I must learn tapestry crochet. Pigmini and Jane Eborall are way ahead of me, but they provided further inspiration. Last week I bought some bright cotton yarn to learn with. There are a lot of tutorials on line. I read several and tried to absorb the principles and get different tips from different accounts. I did a few simple exercises, unraveled them and then embarked on this pattern  on the Pretty Crochet blog. Hmm, a mistake. I'm really not ready to work with three colours yet. My first attempt was horribly scrunched. I started again with a bigger crochet hook. It still doesn't look right. I decided I had better start with a simpler pattern. I found Kathryn Senior's 'Tapestry crochet Aztec inspired coasters' pattern on Interweave press website. Kathryn Senior also has a blog here. I want a mat for my teapot, not a coaster, so I kept going to make it bigger. It's far from perfect. The back especially is like the vicar's egg - good in parts. But I feel I have made some progress now.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Stitch Count

For the record, I've altered the stitch count slightly in the Scrap Savers Hexagon. On the outer round, I'm making three trebles (or dc) in each chain space instead of four. On the second round, I'm making four trebles (dc) instead of five. Perhaps my tension is looser than Julie's. I found I got a neater result by making these changes. I've written them on my printed pattern, otherwise I'll come back to it and have to remember what I did.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Round 4

I've done round 4 of the Renulek doily, which is found here. I like the traditional, lacy look of this round.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Worth The Effort

Well, all the time and effort I put into crocheting and recrocheting my cushion was rewarded yesterday when it was awarded first place in the competition.
My bookmark came first in the beginner section too.

The socks came second. In the critique, the judges said they felt there was too much embellishment. I'm happy enough with second!

The cushion and the socks will go forward to the national competitions, to be held in August. The bookmark won't because it is a beginner article. Let me show you the winner of the embroidery section that will be going on to the national competition:
The light is not wonderful, but you can see how elaborate and beautiful it is.