The Neave Collection Blanket

A good friend of mine has recently had a baby!  Such exciting times!  I decided I would love to make a blanket for her new little princess.  Around the time she was due, a new CAL came along called the Neave Collection blanket (https://www.facebook.com/groups/621056114767998/).  It looked to be a beautiful blanket and the timing was perfect, so I set about starting it.  I used Stylecraft Special DK (my favourite acrylic yarn!) in the suggested coloursof white, silver, fondant and sherbert.  I love the colours together – it is so pretty! It did, however, take me a lot longer than anticipated to finish it (luckily she was a Summer baby and blankets are only just becoming a necessity now with the weather cooling).

It was a lot fiddlier than expected but it was well worth it.  I love the different textures and patterns and the way the colours play together throughout.  I also liked that some of it was made in small squares, which takes some of the tedium out of just going around and around the large square.

I gifted it to my friend today and she loves it just as much as I do!  I hope that she gets a lot of use out of it and enjoys it as a special item for many years to come!

Scalloped Dishcloth

bluedishcloth

In our disposable world, where nothing is made to last and our rubbish is becoming an environmental problem, people are slowly trying to head in the other direction again, looking for products that can be used again and again to stop increasing the landfill.  I am by no means a bare bones, no rubbish person, but I do believe that our world is our responsibility and we need to take care of it as much as we can, so I am always looking out for ways to be more recyclable.  I have heard a lot of hype regarding crocheted dishcloths.  As we go through a number of sponges a year in the daily washing up duties, I decided to make a dishcloth that can be used and washed in the washing machine and used again.  I found a lovely pattern on The Crochet Crowd’s page http://thecrochetcrowd.com/crochet-scalloped-dishcloth-tutorial/.  I like this pattern because it has some texture, and, let’s be honest, sometimes those dished need some extra scrubbing to remove baked on food.  To start with, I was loathe to use something so pretty for such a dirty job, but I love it!  It cleans my dishes really well and, when needed, a quick wash in the machine and it is good to go again!  As many people have said, once you start using these cloths, you won’t ever use anything else again, and they are right!!

Where has the Summer gone?

Following a computer glitch last week, I am happy to report I am back on line with a more streamlined and organised computer!  Add that to a crazy week and a guilty confession from one of my children that a crocheted dragon was pushed down on to the only crochet hook I have to work on my newest pattern and has swallowed it up inside the stuffing and I am one tired crocheter!  However, todays blog post will go ahead!

The weather here has suddenly changed.  One week we had Summer, and then we quickly passed into almost Winter, and there is a definite chill on the breeze.  I feel it is time to start talking about cowls.  It’s not quite cold enough for jumpers yet but you certainly need something to snuggle into on those cold mornings and evenings.  This post is about the Zola Cowl (http://cre8tioncrochet.com/2013/07/bulky-stacked-shell-cowl-and-shrug).  I made this little lovely as a Christmas present last year.  For once, I actually expanded my yarn horizons and bought some yarn from Ice Yarns.  I love how cheap their yarn is, and, despite it coming all the way from Turkey, the delivery time is really quite reasonable (or you can pay a higher price and it gets to Australia in 2 or 3 days!  Amazeballs!).  This cowl worked up quite quickly (which was useful considering it was a last minute idea and I had to wait for the yarn to arrive – amazingly, I had it ready on time!) and I love the versatility of it.  It can be worn down to keep the shoulders warm, as a traditional cowl or many other ways I’m sure (I experimented with an off the shoulder version in my photos).  I quite enjoy working with patterns from Cre8tion Crochet.  Every time I’ve used one, they have been clear to read and easy to follow!  So, for those of you in the beginnings of Autumn, rug up and brace yourselves for the cold weather that’s coming!

Lest we forget

Seeing as how today is ANZAC day here in Australia, I thought that I would theme my blog post around that this week.  Last night, my eldest daughter and I sat down for a quick crochet lesson on making poppies.  They are really sweet and so quick to make up.  You may well ask why I feel ANZAC day is important.  Well, to me, I think that we need to remember.  Each year, the number of veterans is getting smaller and it becomes easier to forget why we need to remember.  We need to remember because many, many people have given their lives so that we can live in a free country, and for that I am very grateful.  But, more importantly, we need to remember because war is a horrible thing – we see pictures and hear stories of what it is like during war but living through it is a totally different thing and we need to make sure that it doesn’t happen again.  Complacency is a very dangerous thing.  So, on this day of remembrance, a heartfelt thank you goes out to all those who have served and are still serving in our militaries.  Your sacrifice does not go unnoticed.

Happy Easter!

I hope that you enjoyed celebrating Easter yesterday with your family and friends.  We had a lovely day with a bunch of family at our house for lunch!  My post is a little late this week as my husband and I have been using the opportunity of a 4 day weekend to install a pond in our yard.  I thought that this would be a quick and easy job.  I was wrong.  It has taken many hours and lots of trips to the hardware store but we’re nearly there!  Fingers crossed by the end of today it will be done.  Sadly, today was going to be my crochet day but I’m so tired and sore from my efforts that even a crochet hook feels like it weighs a tonne!  Anyway, I have managed amongst all of this to create an Eater present for my baby niece who can’t eat chocolate yet!  I saw this sweet little pattern for a rabbit and knew it would be the perfect thing for her https://stipenhaak.blogspot.com.au/2012/11/konijntje-pluis.html.  The pattern is not in English, but even with a dodgy google translate, it was easy to follow and very quick to make up.  I love it!  It also forced me to go ahead with buying some poly pellets.  I have been considering it for awhile to use with my crochet creations but it has just seemed a bit too much trouble to do it!  However, I quickly realised that if I just stuffed this rabbit, the weight of it’s ears would just pull it over.  It really needed something to weight the bottom.  I put the poly pellets in a stocking and doubled it over a couple of times before knotting the top to make sure that the pellets don’t escape and it works a treat.  The little fellow stands up all by himself.  He also has a bit of a rocking motion if she wants to poke him and watch him roll around!  The present went down really well – an added bonus is that his ears are great for chewing on!  Now, back to the pond…..

Crochet Carry Bag

purplebag2

I love looking at projects that other people are making – just to admire them but more often than not to be inspired by them.  As a result, I follow a few facebook pages where people share their projects and I now have a list of projects that would take several lifetimes to complete!  One such project I came across was this lovely little bag that can be used either as a market bag or to take your book and sunnies down to the beach for a relaxing day!  I fell in love with it and had to start on it straight away.  The only problem was, the site it comes from is not in English! http://www.etlehti.fi/artikkeli/koti_ruoka/kasityot/virkkaa_et_kesakassi.  I am quite pleased to say that by using google translate and the graphs that come with the pattern, I was able to translate it sufficiently to create it and I was very happy with the result.  I used a cotton yarn (allsorts from Lincraft) so it feels very strong and serviceable.  There are some holes in it, but they’re not too big, so I don’t think you would lose much out of them.  I ended up giving this bag to one of my good friends for Christmas but I loved it so much that I think I am going to need to make another one for myself!!  But in navy this time…….

purplebag1purplebag3

Spaghetti yarn

I have wanted to try spaghetti yarn for a long time -I  just haven’t had the right project to try it on.  Finally, this year, my chance has come!  A girlfriend of mine has recently had a new baby and requested one made for her nursery.  I looked up patterns to find one that wasn’t too “holey”, so it was safe to be walking on and around with a baby and came across this pattern from Wink https://crafts.tutsplus.com/tutorials/crochet-a-gorgeous-mandala-floor-rug–craft-6032.  It was really fun to try a new kind of yarn!  I enlarged the pattern quite a lot in order to make it as big as she had asked, but I think it turned out well.  It took around 5 1kg balls of yarn, so it weighs a tonne!  It’s a little wrinkled at the moment, but when it’s on carpet, it sits flatter, and in time, I’m sure it will flatten out as it is used!  I’m very happy with the finished result and my friend was thirlled.  I did find it a bit difficult to crochet with because of it’s thickness – it tended to give me a fairly sore wrist, so I had to take frequent breaks but it hasn’t put me off of trying to make another one for my own children’s bedroom!

Boho Bag

As the last installment of my festival themed posts, I decided to make a bag.  A boho, festival worthy creation that will be both practical and stylish.  In my search for a pattern, I came across one from A Creative Being and I knew I had found my bag! http://www.acreativebeing.com/2013/10/02/free-pattern-squares-bag/.  If you search more on her blog, you can find one she made from Noro yarn, with subtle colour changes in the yarn and it is beautiful!!  I did not have the time to order Noro yarn (it’s frustrating living in a country where you have limited yarn selections in local stores!), but I remembered a beautiful yarn that I had had to purchase a few weeks before.  Yes, you read correctly, I HAD to purchase it – it called to me!  I was visiting my local Lincraft store and came across one of their ends bags.  The yarn was so beautiful, with rich, jewel tones and variegated to boot that I decided to buy it and was sure that one day the right project would come along for it.  That day came sooner than expected!  I started working on the squares and was so happy with the result – squares with slight colour changes!  Exactly what I was after!  The pattern is simple and so easy to follow.  Joining the squares was a little harder, just trying to get my head around where I wanted to place the colours etc., but it came together quickly enough.

The next task was to line the bag.  I chose to line mine in red.  I think the better colour choice would have been grey but I dislike handbags with dark linings – I find it hard to see things in your bag, so it’s hard to get out what you’re looking for.  So I bought red, and that was a learning curve in itself.  I sort of followed the instructions for lining the bag, although I left out the wadding.  In theory, it was quite simple – cut out the lining to fit with a bit extra for seams, sew down the sides and across the bottom, then fold over the top section and stitch it into the bag as you hem it (hopefully that makes sense!).  Because of the jagged v shaped top, I had trouble folding it over and pinning it into the bag at the same time, so I decided to hem the top and then stitch it into the bag.  This was where my learning curve kicked in.  Obviously, it needed to be attached to the bag using grey cotton as red would have stood out too much on the grey yarn.  However, that would have left a grey stitch line inside the red lining which also would not have looked too good!  In the end, I blind hemmed the lining in using grey thread.  it doesn’t show on the crochet and is barely noticeable inside on the red lining.  It’s actually quite a nice finish, very neat and one I will use in the future.  This is only the second bag that I have lined and the first one was quite difficult to sew the lining into the crochet – I broke a sewing machine needle and it wasn’t much fun.  I think hand sewing the linings in will be the way I go in the future!  Much easier!

Finally, with some handles sewn on (purchased on ebay) and some embellishments, it is done and I love it!  I can’t wait to begin using it and showing it off to everyone around!

The luck of the Irish

Well, my luck this week was a nasty head cold, so my post is somewhat late and now out of date!  Anyways, I’m feeling better and that’s the main thing.  As I’m sure you are all aware, Friday just gone was St. Patrick’s Day.  This is not something that I particularly celebrate, but even over here in Australia, it’s a fairly big thing and you can’t help but notice it’s happening!  So, for St. Patrick’s Day, I decided to dip my hand back into my Tunisian CAL http://www.petalstopicots.com/2017/03/tunisian-crochet-monthly-dishcloth-crochet-along-march/.  *Please note: – I have made one more attempt at Tunisian Crochet since my Valentine’s Day post, so this one is actually my third try!  I am so much happier with how this turned out!  I didn’t worry about which way I wound my yarn around the hook and just did it like I have for the last twenty years and it is so much more even.  I’m still not thrilled with the finish on the right hand side but that is something to be worked on in the next one!  This has certainly helped to shore up my never be defeated attitude.  As I crochet left handed, I didn’t follow the authors instructions on how to do Tunisian crochet on the first cloth.  I did a google search and followed some more specific left handed tutorials.  Although I achieved the result I was after, it seemed a very awkward way to execute the stitches.   This time, as I had already had a go and had a fair idea of what it should look like etc., I was able to go back to the author’s instructions on how to do Tunisian crochet and they made a lot more sense and were a lot easier to follow and so much less awkward to execute!  I do believe I am progressing well on this journey and look forward to seeing what is improved upon in my next dishcloth!

This is a comparison shot of my first Tunisian dishcloth and the one I have just completed.  I did use a different sized hook, which is why there is a discrepancy between the actual finished sizes but the difference in the neatness of the stitches and even in the definition of the reverse stitches on the motifs is quite noticeable!

And, in an offside, I did manage to drag myself out over the weekend and visit the Garden of Unearthly Delights as part of the Adelaide Fringe Festival.  It was certainly amazing with all the colour and lights and so many different little shows that were on offer.  We dropped in to a magic show with our children, which we thoroughly enjoyed.  And, as is suitable, I wore my newly made festival worthy necklace!