Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Putting It Together

Remember the collaborative blanket I was working on? All the squares have been crocheted and given back to me so that I can put the blanket together. It's a 'comfort blanket' to be given to a family whose son has died. His name will be embroidered on the 'blank' squares you can see in the photo. I'm crocheting the squares together. It's going very slowly. Perhaps that's because it's acrylic and I'm used to using wool? I don't know. In any case, I shall plod on until the job is done. Once the squares are all joined, I will crochet an edging around the blanket.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Polka Dots

Or flower centres? In 'person' the bracelet looks like a turquoise zigzag with yellow dots on it, but in a close up photo the zigzag looks like a series of little flowers.  Whichever way you look at it, it's pretty and an easy pattern to work. The author of the pattern is Andi, here's a link.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

The Pair

I duly have a pair of spiral beaded earrings. They look better in person than they do in a photo! I created a tutorial to show how I made them. Here's a link. It seems a bit long, but for those who don't want to print such a long pattern out, I'm pretty sure that once the principle is understood it's not necessary to print it all. Any feedback welcome!

Friday, October 27, 2017

Beaded Spiral Earring

Sylvie suggested adding beads to the picots. That's a possibility, but it would result in a much more open spiral. I decided instead to add beads to the red spiral from the shuttle. I think it works well.
Here's a closer look:
Muskaan kindly gave me a link to this post, where Mariya explains how she did a two-colour spiral. Aha, I thought someone must have done something similar before now.

Now I need to make another earring.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Tatted Version

How about a tatted version of yesterday's crochet spiral? It needs some practice and refinement, of course, but I think it has potential. Beads around the outside for earrings? A bead in the centre?

Here are some earlier versions:
I started off using lock joins, simply so that I could work with two shuttles instead of four. I thought I'd get it basically right like that and then use Catherine Wheel Joins to get a smoother effect. I also had the absurd idea of using direct stitches in one colour and normal in the other so that I could work with one shuttle.  Absurd because direct stitches move anti-clockwise and normal ones clockwise. Duh. What do you think? I'm sure someone must've tried this before, so if anyone would like to point me in the right direction, please do.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Spirals and Circle

In a recent newsletter from Interweave Press, there was a tutorial showing how to crochet a multicoloured crochet spiral. I thought I'd give it a go. It's simple enough, once you understand how it works. Basically you have to create a section in one colour and then crochet in the other colour on top of it, so you have to keep swapping colours as you go along. It's possible to make the spirals in more than two colours. I was just experimenting, so I've left it at this.

Yesterday there was a circle around the sun, a sort of rainbow, which is apparently technically known as a sun halo or a 22 degree halo. I'm told it's formed when sunlight passes through ice crystals. Interesting to see, though not easy to photograph.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Quick Bead

My stock of beaded crochet bracelets needs replenishing. This was a quick bracelet to work, with a circumference of five beads and a small repeat. It's simple, but effective. I like it. The pattern is on Pinterest here. I think the author is Allkovale.

Monday, October 23, 2017

More Ice Drops

I've given away all my ice drops, which gives me the excuse to make some more. Not that I need an excuse of course.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Crochet Rag Rug

I have Pinterest on my phone and peruse it in odd moments - while the kettle comes to the boil or waiting outside the co-op for Jack to finish his shopping. On Wednesday I came across a tutorial for making a crocheted rag rug. Hmm. An idea for making a mat for the veranda perhaps. An owl sits on the light above our front door some nights. I quite like the idea of an owl sitting there, but it is a messy creature that has ruined the mat.

I looked through my materials and found a green sheet that is past its use-by date and a couple of strips of beige curtaining left over from a project. My biggest crochet hook is 6 mm, so I didn't think the 1.5 inch strips in the tutorial were going to work. I crocheted some samples and decided on 1.5 cm for the beige and 1 cm for the green sheeting. The tutorial says to sew the strips together in preference to knotting them. I did that for the beige, but it's not really practical to sew 1 cm strips together, so I just knotted them.
And began to crochet. The beige was much easier to work with. The sheeting was surprisingly stiff, which rather puts me off the technique.  But the mat is complete and an old sheet recycled.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Knot Necklace

I saw a picture on Pinterest that is the inspiration for this necklace. To start with I looked through my collection of Clare Gaylard's flamework beads. Then I worked back from there to choose seed beads and make up a threading pattern. Flexibility is important for this kind of necklace, so I used size 20 thread, even though the the circumference is small. It took me longer to crochet than I thought it would but turned out as I visualised, so I'm happy about that.

At one stage the thread with beads strung on it was getting into a tangle. I solved that problem by wrapping the thread around a roll of flannel fabric. Things 'stick' to flannel, but of course they come away without any sort of residue. It worked well.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017


I have been using size 10 crochet cotton to make beaded crochet ropes. It works very well for ropes with a circumference of 6, but ropes with an 8 circumference are a bit stiff. I wondered if using a finer thread would be better. I found this pattern on Pinterest, saved from m.vk.com, which is 8 around. Using size 20 thread it's definitely more flexible, curves round to make a bangle much better than the ones using size 10 thread So, I've learnt something!

Monday, October 16, 2017

Mission Accomplished

I set out to make a magic square that was bigger than Robin Perfetti's diagram.  On my first attempt, I turned right when I should've turned left and finished up with a square that was exactly the same as the diagram. Nice, but no cigar. I decided to have another go, and this time I got it right. This is tatted in one pass so that there are only two threads at the end to sew in:
Of course there were ends when I refilled shuttles as I went along, but those ends could be encapsulated.

There were several times while tatting this that I was convinced I had gone completely astray. I hadn't. Eventually I found that the best way of working was to keep my eyes firmly on the diagram, rather than the work itself. Do not stop periodically to admire your progress, Jane, that causes confusion!

One interesting point about the diagram is that is was computer-generated. Robin hasn't tatted the whole diagram herself. I'm here to say that it works like a charm. Thanks Robin.

I used size 40 thread to tat this, it measures almost 30 cm across.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Regaining Momentum

I've had a break from my magic square, but I don't want to leave it languishing as a UFO. I'm working on it again and hope to get it finished soon.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

For Winter

It seems a bit odd to be posting knitwear off to Australia in the middle of Summer. But if this parcel takes as long to arrive as the last one did, my son-in-law should receive them just in time for Winter! The pattern is by Pamela W Allen. They're knitted in the round in rib. I like that that means they are reversible and there's no specific right and left.

The Value Of Having a Stash

I bought 2 metres of denim last week to use for lining these folded or origami bags. I made one using the denim, but realised that it is really too stiff for the job. I live a long way from the fabric shop, so I couldn't just go back there.  Luckily I could look through my stash to find other fabrics to line the bags.

I bought 1 metre each of the blue patterned and turquoise patterned fabric, thinking that each would make 4 bags. Not so, but far otherwise, as Rudyard Kipling would say. The blue fabric is very narrow, I could only cut 2 squares from it. The turquoise, on the other hand, is wide enough to cut 6 bags! Note to self: check the width of fabric when buying.  In the interests of variety, I used a similar fabric from my stash for one of the bags, and have managed to make the 5 bags going to one family different from each other.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Adding Beads

I can see why Diane's Ice drops are addictive. They don't take long to make, but have so many possibilities for variations.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Knitted Ball

Knitted Ball is the name of the pattern by Marleen Hartog on Ravelry, but it doesn't really do it justice. I'd call it 'woven ball' or something like that. When I saw a picture of it, I thought it would be just the thing to put in the baby bag. But it hasn't worked as well as I had hoped.  It doesn't feel firm enough; it seems as though my strips are a bit too long, or perhaps not wide enough.  I might put it in anyway, though I'm pretty sure the baby's older brothers will destroy it in minutes!

Friday, October 6, 2017

Little Bag

When I saw this bag on Pinterest, I thought it might be a good idea to use fabric bags instead of wrapping paper for gifts. I traced it back and found this tutorial by Paula Cheney for making them. It's clear and helpful, thanks Paula. The first one is for a baby shower I'm going to tomorrow. The bag is smaller than I visualised. In theory I could make the next one bigger, using the same principles, but I bought fabric with these dimensions in mind, so I'll have to see how it goes.
I also made a hat for  baby in matching fabric:

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Ice Drops!

Yesterday we went into The Crazy Store to look for frivolous things to send to grandchildren. What did I find? 'Crystal accents', just right for making the Lace-lovin' Librarian's  ice drops:
There were different colours, but only one colour to a bag, so I chose the colour that looked most 'icy'. As soon as we got home, I looked up Diane's  pattern, and off I went. I'm delighted to be able to join the craze that has taken the tatting world by storm. Thanks Diane. Here's a picture of the back of the two I've made:

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Ninetta's Radiant

I thought I'd try Ninetta's radiant pattern before I went back to the magic square. It seemed a bit fiddly to start with, but once I got the hang of adding the bugle beads, it was fine. I really like how the motif turned out. The stitch count is so perfect that it doesn't even need blocking. I used size 40 thread, it measures 8.5 cm across. Thanks Ninetta!

Monday, October 2, 2017

Cricket Knitting

Ok, so I may have missed the odd ball bowled or four hit, but I did knit two headbands at the cricket game, South Africa versus Bangladesh. I was sitting on a folding chair, I hasten to add, not on the ground. I finished the bands off when I got home:
I did some experimenting before we left, to get the increases and decreases right. To get the V rib look of the original, I had to increase 5 stitches in the centre on the first half and decrease 5 on the second half. I tried increasing 5 times in the centre stitch, but it creates a large hole:
The solution I eventually arrived at was to work to the centre stitch, pick up and purl the loop before the stitch, increase to three stitches from the centre stitch and then pick up and purl the following loop. 5 stitches increased without a hole. On the decrease side, I worked a slip one, knit one, pass slip stitch over decrease, purled the centre three stitches together and then knitted two together. I tried purling 5 stitches together, but it causes a horrible lump.

Here's a photo I took at the rugby to record the half time score, that shows why knitting at a rugby test match is not really an option:
PS. South Africa has just won the cricket game. The rugby game was a draw, 27 points each to South Africa and Australia.