Wednesday, May 31, 2017


I've been busy with household chores, so I'm making slow progress on Annika's place mat. But the little girl with her ice cream is gradually emerging


These squares are a little bigger than the flower garden ones, so 96 should be enough, 8 by 12. Now I have to decide how to join them. No sewing! I didn't really enjoy sewing hexagons together. I don't want to use the method I used for the flower garden, because it's a bit 'off', not absolutely square. These mitred squares are also a bit 'off', they look terrible until the last round is done, so I'm going to look for a method that is more exact.

Monday, May 29, 2017

A Special Request

When my children were small, I made each of them a place mat, decorated with cross stitch. Yesterday Penny showed hers to her daughters and Annika promptly asked if she could have one. I said I'd see what I could do. This morning I dug around in my craft supplies and, amazingly, came up with the original pattern I used for Penny's one, thirty years ago!  That's the little girl on the bottom left of the page, so I'm going to do the bottom right one for Annika. I have some cross stitch alphabets but had a look on-line because I wanted one with a modern lower-case a. It's surprising how many have this 'a'. I settled on one from  I've collected all the materials I need and written out the lettering on graph paper. Now to begin....

Friday, May 26, 2017

A Quick Spin

It takes me about 11 hours to spin a full 'batch': that is, fill two bobbins with spinning and then ply them together. I'm in 'crochet mode' at the moment, rather than 'spinning mode', so I decided to just spin a half-batch. I have to wash this lot. It'll dry quickly in this weather, so I should be able to crochet again this afternoon.

Thursday, May 25, 2017


That's my new tally of crocheted squares. I've been working them in sets of 10:

Whether that way of working is really quicker than working one complete square at a time, as I read somewhere, I don't know. I have run out of the natural so will have to spin some more before I can resume crocheting.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

In Colour

Following a comment by Maureen on yesterday's post, I gave some thought to making the dot picots in a different colour. It's a bit fiddly, but possible, and the working did get easier as I went along. I used three shuttles and encapsulated the pink thread. I think it may be pertinent to muskaan's idea of using dot picots instead of beads. For a link to Usha's instructions for dot picots, scroll down to yesterday's post.

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  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.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

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.