19/01/2018 § 2 Comments
Upping the tempo as the New Year progresses has been a joy, with workshops underway and markets too. I had a stall in Winchester’s historic High Street, a couple of weeks ago and I’ll be there again on Sunday – despite a dreadful weather forecast!
Here’s a round up of my week …
a dusting of pollen on the mantlepiece, from the first hazel catkins, gathered whilst walking the collies up at the farm, and bunch of daffodils from the fantastic independent greengrocer in Romsey. I’m trying to shop more in smaller, specialist shops and local makers & bakers market stalls.
I’ve finished a quilt top in grey/white/pink shades and also added pockets to a few quilts, to convert them into ‘quillows’ which seem to be very popular …
and in other news …
Oooohhhhh – yes! A new crochet blanket is underway. I couldn’t wait to start it but made myself finish Strawberry Moon II and put an edging on my original Strawberry Moon blankets before beginning another project. I have no idea what size this one will end up. I bought the mellow, mushroom-coloured yarn from an internet auction and decided that it would be the basis for this blanket. Every square has a double border in this colour, and there will be a wide edging too. The inner circles are Debbie Bliss cashmerino aran and I only bought 7 of them – I’ll see how far they go. It’s going to be called Vintage Rose, as the colours are all gentle and soft and I want it to look as though it was made years ago.
I’m a bit obsessed with crochet circles ending up as squares. Same idea as for Gypsy Rose, who’s fame has spread worldwide though this time there are fewer colours in each block. I’m using the ‘join-as-you-go’ method as I hate sewing all the squares together at the end, but I’m being very strict about darning in all the ends every evening.
My method, is to hook up a few circles of 4 rounds each evening then, the following evening before I pick up my hook, I darn in those ends. I’m eager to hook up more circles so that’s my motivation and I end the evening by joining the finished circles to the blanket before I go to bed. I end up being able to see my progress as the blanket grows, and know that I only have about 12 ends to darn in the following day before I start to crochet again. Sweet yarny dreams follow, as I snuggle beneath my beloved Strawberry Moon and Carnival blankets, both of which have made it onto the bed during these cold months! We don’t ‘do’ duvets in this house – quilts and crochet blankets, layered up are amazingly warm and weighty.
I have been out into the garden, to find the earliest blooms – some so shy that only the scent guides me to their hiding places …
Sweetly scented wallflowers, snowdrops and primroses by the pond and there’s a wonderful white winter honeysuckle too that smells divine – soon the first bumble bees will be searching out those blooms.
Have a lovely weekend – whatever the weather!
Linking up with Finish it up Friday
12/02/2016 § 3 Comments
I promised her this for her birthday in December but hadn’t even started it then. Fortunately we have a very relaxed attitude to such things and she knew I wanted to make her something special but I needed to be ‘in the mood’!
I’ve so enjoyed creating this – no pattern – but my usual combination of a 3-cornered knitted scarf with crochet pineapple-ish lace edging, to keep her warm as she travels to work and out in the evenings with her friends.
It was going to be just the linen colour, but she has a teal bag (which I love) and I had some beautiful alpaca in the perfect shade and the red – well, we both love red and it’s a deep cherry red – warm and cosy.
I think I may be ‘back in the groove’ earlier than I expected. Building works will be done by the end of the month and I spent yesterday afternoon in the garden, turning over the veg plots and putting my early seed potatoes on the workbench to sprout.
The sun has been shining just a bit this week and has a remarkable effect – on all the bulbs and winter flowering cherry blossom – and makes me want to dance about! I’ve booked up some fairs for the year and have listed a few quilts in my Quilt Shop. I’m linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts on Finish it up Friday too.
Enjoy your weekend, what will you be up to?
13/06/2012 § 3 Comments
A Welsh valley on a misty, early Spring morning. So many recent days – weeks even, have echoed these subtle hues, despite the summer cloak of leaves telling us that the sky should be blue and the season’s colours bright.
Grey light lasts long into the evening here – it’s the longest day next week and there’s warmth in the sun when it makes an appearance but I have a feeling that my abiding memory of June is going to be rain, rain and more rain!
Having completed Ripple One in bright expectant colours at the end of Spring I expected to turn my creative crochet urges towards the tub of yet unused Julia Wool by Kristin Nichols. This is the yarn I used for Gypsy Rose – back in February, when I was even more excited about the summer days ahead! I did make a start on a blanket – Hearts & Flowers, but there are a couple of reasons why I haven’t taken up with this one – I don’t want to finish working with the wool, ‘cos its divine; I want to make something really special with it – WOW factor in bucketfuls!
the first showing of my current WIP – Misty Morning blanket …
What do you think? Does it remind you of misty mornings? I’m using Drops wools – Karisma and Lima – they’re beautiful, soft and gentle wools. I’m joining the individual grannies and the blocks as I go – I’m right ‘off’ sewing up seams (enough of that on my cushions and quilts)! I’ve completed 2 rows of 4 blocks in just over a week. Last night I completed the first block of the 3rd row. I don’t have a grand plan for the size – whatever feels right will be fine, I’m sure! I’m alternating the border of the blocks between grey & brown yarns and I want it to have a special border – maybe a deep lace? Who knows??
Since spending a whole day doing housework last week, we’ve been making an effort to keep on top of all the boring stuff – don’t you just hate ‘putting away’? What do other people do with all their ‘stuff’? Do they have a huge cupboard hidden away somewhere where it all sits – and then falls out in a heap when they open the door? The flowers I bought, following my house-love day are still blooming beautifully and I brought in some roses from the garden too …
A silhouette of sunflowers on the big worktop in the kitchen – the fly curtain is redundant just now ‘cos the door’s always closed – it’s bright and cheery though and hides the grey skies!
Who says there isn’t any sunshine?
Reflections and candlelight – a sofa full of cushions, Mary Rose Young on the shelf, roses from the garden, pink tulips and a new foxglove in the garden …
Must be summertime!
PS – see the finished Misty Morning blanket post here.
25/04/2012 § 1 Comment
Whilst rippling along on the crest of a wave, with Ripple One blanket, I’m acquiring many odds and ends of yarn …
so I decided to move Belle and put them to good use …
I didn’t have a plan, nor a pattern! I just went round in circles and had a bit of a play about with crocheting ’round the post’ both backwards and frontwards. I found a picture of a ‘waffle’ stitch and apparently it’s quite easy when you get the hang of it, so I wanted to experiment whilst being thrifty and using the ripply ends. Actually, I had to raid my collection of odd whole balls by the end as it was quite a way round! The brilliant blue is a vintage yarn which is quite heavy in the hand, but it worked in nicely and I think it looks rather like a chunky china plate! I crocheted the back in the geranium pink and made a quick cushion from some old curtain lining and stuffing! It looks sort of homely and vintagey and reminds me of my childhood, though I’m not sure why!
In today’s other news …
Flora strutted down her ramp early this morning in the midst of blinding rain and a gale! She wasn’t at all bothered and made straight for the grass and an exciting slug hunt! She was tapping at the back door by the time I returned home from work this afternoon, and I thought of how apt the saying “water off a duck’s back” as despite the continuing (will-it-ever-stop) weather, apart from a few feathers on her head, she was dry as a could be!
Now, Flora has 2 garden ponds to play in but she loves fresh, cold water in an enamel bowl on the patio. Today’s freshen up was straight out of the sky and she loves to have a drink and a wash from her favourite watering hole!
Thought I’d leave you with a couple of collie snaps – Bluebelle (above) is our speckly nosed 4 yr old collie. It was her birthday last week, just as the bluebells came into bloom. She’d moved from ‘my place’ on the sofa to the top of the cushions which is her favourite spot as she can turn around and see anyone walking past the window. I frequently sit with her wrapped around my neck, like a fox fur collar!
Misty, didn’t want to be left out of today’s gallery …
Isn’t she a pretty girl? All grown up and 7 years old, greying a little around her muzzle now – I know just how she feels!
Now, move over Belle – I’m reclaiming my place!
PS – it’s just tipping down again, so perfect weather for a spot of crochet, don’t you think?
30/01/2012 § 12 Comments
Gypsy Rose, my crochet blanket, is coming along …
I shared the beginning of our journey together last week (here) and I just adore the circle into square pattern that I ended up with – a variation on many trials! Thirty-six squares later, I made the decision to stop making squares and add a border. I came up with this one (from Crochet Bible) …
Now, it doesn’t look exactly inspiring, in my opinion. But I closed my eyes and thought about how it could look in a myriad of colours.
Close your eyes and try it …
does it work?
You bet it does …
It’s the simplest stitch ever. I double-crocheted a row all around the edge of the squares and then just add row on row of 1dc, 1ch – it’s that’ simple. A slip stitch to join the end of the row and on to a new colour with 3 ch to start the row.
What I have discovered is that as the pattern grows, I need to think carefully about the way the colours work together …
See how the colours in every other row link together.
I’m so enjoying the journey of this blanket. With my quilting, I feel driven to finish a quilt and have frequently cut out the next one before finishing the quilting, but this wool by Kristin Nicholas is so amazing, I almost want it to last forever! Having said that, I do have a whole tub of yarn left! In fact, I may finish this one and make another one simply using this pattern! Decisions, decisions – eh?
So, the lesson I’m learning from Gypsy Rose, is to read between the lines – see beyond the obvious, don’t be afraid, trust your judgement and live a little!
I’ll keep you posted!
UPDATE: See Gypsy Rose finished here.
More of my blankets:
Carnival 2013 – the most colourful crochet blanket in the world!
Ripple One 2012 – the joyful colours of Spring and early Summer 2012.
Misty Morning 2012 – subtle shades reminiscent of mist in the valley
27/01/2012 § 6 Comments
Maybe it’s because there’s a chill in the air …
would that explain my sudden desire to crochet?
Or could it be this most delicious collection of yarn, that’s got me in the mood?
Last October, or thereabouts, I happened across Getting Stitched on the Farm – Kristin Nicholas’ blog. I was hooked (excuse the pun) and am a regular visitor, sharing in the highs and lows of farming life in Massachusetts. On this particular day, the very first time I visited, Kristen’s yarn Julia – a heady mix of wool, alpaca and mohair – had just been discontinued and was being offered for sale at a discount from Webs.
Now, anyone who’s anyone from over-the-pond will doubtless be familiar with Webs, but I had to know more! There I found the yarn, in glorious technicolour, the colours made me swoon! It was cheaper to buy it and get it shipped than it was to buy the equivalent yardage from a local store.
I purchased a box full and could hardly contain my excitement when it arrived (despite having to pay the import duty which I wasn’t expecting)! Then, in December, my great friend who lives in NY popped over for a visit and brought me some more for my collection!
I’ve uummmm’d and aarrrrgh’d over what to make and a while ago I settled on my pattern …
My original choice of colours included a vivid scarlet and a couple of others, but this stuff was selling out as I was clicking on my basket!
I’m making a blanket – for me, well us – the family! It’s my Gypsy Blanket – those hot, tangy hues are full of character and charm.
I’ve been hooking away in quiet moments now and then, but want this to be a gentle make. No deadlines to meet, or market date for this one. I’ve put together 36 squares but I’m thinking I may stop there and work outwards with a border, to give maximum drape. What do you think?
As usual, when in doubt, I dug out one of my crochet books …
I love this book and use it as a reference so often. The projects actually interest me less than the stitch library. I think I’ve settled for this stitch …
a textured tweed that requires little brain power and will enable me to interlock colours all around instead of simply working in stripey rows. What do you think?
Have you used this stitch?
Will it drape well? Let me know your thoughts.
Now, I’m off to walk the dogs, dodging the downpours, hopefully! What happened to the glorious sunshine from this morning when I was still in work?
Note to self … must get on with planning early retirement!
Enjoy your weekend …
Flora’s loving the rain!
PS Just added in the link to Webs yarnstore, in the US.
08/01/2012 § 13 Comments
A while ago I bought an amazing hank of wool.
I wound it into a ball and promptly lost the label, but it’s hand dyed with angora, as I recall. It’s truly beautiful – subtle colours, soft to the touch, it crochets up beautifully – with strong form and clear stitches.
One ball of yarn – what shall I make?
Now I enjoy sitting of an evening, hook and yarn in hand, doing a bit of crochet! It’s a wonderful winter craft – Misty the collie at my feet with Belle observing my every move from the comfort of the old settee. There may be some music wafting through the lounge, or maybe something entertaining on the TV. Whatever’s happening, crochet is ultimately relaxing – at least I find it so – as evening drifts towards night-time.
Here’s what I’ve made – so far …
A brooch pin with sparkly crystal bead …
Well, I made three! One with a pearl instead of a crystal …
This may be my favourite brooch – 3 little blooms and leaves. Look at those colours!
I hope you’re all enjoying the New Year and making your way gently back into making and creating now that all the decorations have been tucked away in the loft. The mornings are still so dark but the birds are singing away in that magical time just before daylight. I let Flora out this morning while it was still quite dark. She doesn’t see too well in the dusk and she waited a few minutes before venturing down the ramp with a loud quack to greet the morn! She hopped over the back doorstep and into the kitchen this morning too! Much consternation amongst the collies!
Pop over to Wendy’s blog to see what everyone else is up to. I’ve been patchworking today, so maybe next week there’ll be something larger to show and tell! We’ll see …
Happy New Year and thank you Wendy for hosting Handmade Monday once again.
26/12/2011 § 2 Comments
Last week I treated myself to a book from Marmalade Yarns in Frome …
I was literally itching to open it before Christmas, but ‘Himself’ had been handed the red paper carrierbag as I left the shop, with strict instructions to wrap it up very tightly – and hide it!
It duly arrived, safely down the chimney, yesterday morning and it’s a wonder the projects didn’t end up in the oven ‘cos I had it open with my cookery books in the kitchen all day, as I checked a few ingredient details whilst preparing the dinner!
Alpaca + Merino yarn
2 tsp cinnamon
4 mm crochet hook
slug of sherry
I couldn’t wait to pick up my hook and in no time at all last evening …
I made my first babushka! I just love her little face and I bet each one will have a character all of her own. Of course, they’ll have to have names too!
I can’t wait to make another one – or two – or have a go at some of the other projects from the book, all of which are beautifully photographed and inspiring. Just love Boxing Day – no need to worry about food – there’s plenty of everything in the fridge and ‘Himself’ is off to footie so I have a whole afternoon to myself.
Oohhhhh – I love holidays!
25/11/2011 § Leave a comment
Hooky glam is all the rage …
Crochet has that retro 60’s/70’s vibe at the moment and it’s really making a comeback. In those magazines from the 50’s, crochet was still about lacy collars, chair backs and tray cloths, but then in the 60’s granny squares grew into ponchos, tank-tops and bags.
Now, with the retro revival, vintage glamour and a resurgence of interest in ‘making’, crochet is back into the big time!
I still have to feel the wool though – acrylic yarn does nothing for me, in the hand. It has to be pure wool or maybe with just a tad of something extra for easy washing.
Don’t you just love hexi crochet? I used 4-ply yarn for these 3 projects – they took ages but are SO delicate.
Summer colours above – all pinks & lilacs with a delicate green added in for a bit of a lift – it’s now a completed square, ready for a large cushion. It hangs over the rail at the bottom of the bed so that I can see it when I wake up each morning – makes me feel happy! I’m definitely not parting with this one!
How about this one for a classic combination then? Hexis and pom poms, again all in 4-ply! This one went off to live in a new home on Saturday – hope you’re enjoying it!
Pop back next week to see the most amazing yarn that I had shipped over from the States. It’s the most beautiful wool that I’ve ever worked with and it’s a project that will take me months to complete – that’s part of the fun though isn’t it?
Have a great weekend