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.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

First Stars

I've used wool left over from other blankets to make the first motifs for my new blanket, using this pattern.   There's a long way to go, but it's good to have made a start.

Ready For Colour

I unraveled a Scrap Saver Hexagon and wound the wool round my niddy noddy to see how much yarn one motif takes. Nine-and-a-half turns, say ten for good measure. So I've made skeins of 30 times round the niddy noddy, enough for three motifs. I have 13 skeins ready to be dyed. In the meantime I can use wool left over from previous blankets to make hexagons. If I'm not sure if a ball is big enough for a full motif, I can wind it round the niddy noddy to check. The brown ball looked big enough, but was eight times round, so I saved myself the trouble of crocheting most of a motif and then finding there wasn't enough.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Stars In My Eyes

I thought I'd make my next crochet blanket using hexagons. For no good reason, just because I've already used stripes, squares and triangles. I've been browsing hexagons on the internet - there are plenty of them.  One that caught my eye is Scrap Savers Hexagon by Julie Bolduc, which you can find here
I really like the star in the middle. Interestingly, if you make the hexagon using a different colour for each round, the star disappears:
Hmm, I wouldn't like to lose my star attraction.  So I'm going to make each hexagon in a single colour, with a white outline. Hopefully I'll be able to join as I go when I work the white rounds. First I must spin some wool to crochet with! 

Friday, March 3, 2017

The Pair

I've finished knitting the pair of socks I was asked to make for a friend. The wool is apparently quite old. Each ball comes separately wrapped in a printed plastic bag! The pattern I used is  bintje by Jatta Saukko, available as a free download on Ravelry. The original pair is knee length, with a clever way of decreasing in the purl sections between the lace panels, so I had to read it carefully when adapting the pattern to make ankle socks. 

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Round Three

Round three of the Renulek doily was pretty straight forward. I tried to pay attention to my tension. I think because I'm used to tatting with size 20 thread, I have to try a bit harder when using size 40. Which can only be a good thing!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Flowers in a Row Blanket

I've finished crocheting Isabel's Flowers in a row blanket. It was designed by Melissa Leapman, the pattern is here. The yarn specified is Red Heart supersaver, but I used handspun wool instead. The cream colour is the natural, undyed wool. The colours were dyed with chemical dyes in my microwave. The blanket measures 114 cm by 147 cm. It took me just under a month to make. That was the deadline I set myself, so that I could post it off and hope it will reach Isabel by her birthday. It was rather a tight deadline; I plan to make the next blanket in more leisurely fashion!

Nearly There

I'm working on the edging of my blanket. I don't feel like spinning more wool, so if I don't have enough to follow the pattern, I'll adapt the edging.