Thursday, 27 March 2014

Sparkle Scarf

I finished off this scarf which is a present for my Mother in law for Mothering Sunday.  I bought the yarn from Aldi earlier this month. The turquoise sparkle brightened up an otherwise uninspiring food shop and it was perfect to try out this forget-me-knot stitch pattern I had been wanting to have a go at.

I can't lie and say this starting being for MIL but after a few rows I felt it was very 'her' ( she does like a bit of sparkle) so decided to gift it along with a treat of afternoon tea at a posh garden centre in a village not far away.

I ADORE this stitch pattern!!! I love the texture it gives and it's ever-so-easy to do. I do fancy coming back to this in the Autumn to make one for myself, I quite fancy this yarn :o)

So purely for my own benefit I'm writing the pattern here so I can refer back later in the year. You can find this forget-me-knot stitch pattern is all over the net, again nothing original of mine, but I want to have a record of exactly how I made this scarf (there is NO-WAY on this earth I would remember otherwise)

Firstly, a hand-drawn chart:

Sparkel Scarf Pattern:

ch 43 (this is a multiple of 3 + 1)

Row 1: ch 2 (yes I know that means you really have a chain of 45, but these end 2 ch count as the first tr and I like to think of them as separate from the first row) 1tr, 2ch, 1dc into 3rd ch from hook (the 43rd chain made) *skip 2 stitches, (2tr, 2ch, 1dc) into next stitch. Repeat from * all the way along to the end. You should have 15 shell shapes. Turn work.

Row 2: ch 2, (1tr, 2ch, 1dc) into first 2ch space of previous row.

* (2tr, 2ch, 1dc) into next 2ch space and repeat from * all along row to end.

It's so easy as once the first row is done you are stitching into the chain spaces you made in the previous row and I always find this quicker and easier than working into actual stitches.

Continue until you have reached the desired length. I made mine the length of my sofa.  

Hang on, let me measure it = 180cm (don't ask me how many rows that is!)

I used 5 x 50g balls with some left over. With anything in Aldi they say once it's gone it's gone so I don't know about getting this yarn again (It's their own brand). Maybe they will stock it again in the future.

Once done the finished end will be nice and scallopy but the starting end is straight so I worked the same stitch pattern into the starting chain (turning the work upside down), working into the same chain stitch that I used for the first row of stitch pattern as it leaves a little loop to work out of. Just working one row like this makes both ends of the scarf the same.

If you are celebrating Mothers Day this Sunday I hope you have a lovely day - either with your own Mum or with the people who call you Mum

'till next time...

PS: Let me know of any mistakes in the pattern (even though it's so basic it would be shameful if I've done it wrong!!)

PPS: I don't think my MIL reads my blog :o)

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Tulip Jar Cosy

Hey ho my lovelies.

What is your favourite flower? Mine is... well I love pretty much all flowers from roses to alliums, to the dainty heart shape ones on the dicentra plant and my new love is the hellebore. But I have long favoured the tulip. I love that they come in many, many colours. I love their shape and form and the fact they droop after a while as if to say, "that's it, I've had enough here". And of course I love that they are relatively cheap to buy. Spring time, when daffodils and tulips are packed in buckets in the supermarket is when I mostly buy cut flowers. When I am fed up with winter grey and long for colour, it's a cheap fix.

I have plenty of pretty jugs and vases to display my posies in, but on Sunday morning I had an idea to crochet a jar cosy especially for bunches of tulips.

Rows of brightly coloured tulips around the jar, with a pink ribbon tying the bunch together! I was quite pleased with how this turned out, and how quickly it was to make. Would you like to see how I made it?

Firstly, with a nice bright green colour yarn I made a chain and I found it had to be tight to my jar size - otherwise the cosy ends up too baggy. But the chain does need to be a multiple of 3, mine was 39.

(Rnd 1) I then joined the chain into a circle with a slip stitch. 1ch and then 1dc into every stitch - ending up with the same amount of dc as the chain, for me 39 (so therefore not counting the first ch of this round) and then I slip stitched into the first dc to close the round.

(Rnd 2) 4ch, 1tr into same stitch as the last slip stitch. *skip 2 stitches (1tr, 1ch, 1tr) into next stitch. Repeat from * all around and then slip stitch into 3rd ch of initial 4ch made at start of round. This is the 'leaf' row.

I then had a fitting session with my jar, and yes seems okay :o)

(Rnd 3) Slip stitch into next ch1 space, using new colour to complete the stitch, a bright cerise pink is good. Don't cut off the green colour though! ch 2 and then do a tr 2 tog stitch into same chain space. That is: *yo, hook into ch space and pull through loop, yo, pull through 2 middle loops, yo, hook back into same ch space and pull loop through, yo, pull through first 2 loops on hook,* yo and pull through remaining 3 loops on hook. (yo is yarn over)

** ch 1 and then do a tr 3 tog into next chain space. That is: do as above from * to * yo, hook back into same ch space again and pull loop through (5 loops on hook) yo, pull through first 2 loops, yo and pull through remaining 4 loops on hook.

Repeat from ** all around and then slip stitch into top of first tr 2 tog. You now have a pretty row of tulip stitches. Fasten off pink colour yarn.

Sorry the above picture is blurry, but I wanted to show you how I picked up the green yarn again, and with my hook pulled a loop through the back of the nearest 'tulip' stitch...

...and then turned it back over to the front and made a slip stitch into the ch space. By carrying your green yarn up to the next row like this it eliminates quite a few of the ends to weave in! 

(Rnd 4) ch 4, 1tr into same ch space. * (1tr, 1ch, 1tr) into next ch space. Repeat from * all around and then slip stitch into 3rd ch of initial 4ch ch made at start of round.

Repeat rounds 3 and 4 until your jar cosy is the size required, about up to here:

As you can see I've ended with a 'leaf' row.

(rnd 5) with a tulip coloured yarn, start in any ch space, ch 2, 2tr, 1htr, into same ch space. *(1htr, 2tr, 1htr) into next ch space and all around. Slip stitch into top of 2ch made at start of round. Fasten off and weave in the ends you have.

If you want, thread some ribbon into the last 'leaf' row and tie snuggly when the cosy is on the jar.

Nip down to the supermarket and buy a brightly coloured bunch of tulips and display in your jar to bring sunshine and springtime to your home. 

And of course it's Mothers' Day soon here in the UK at least and I think this would make a super present for your lovely Mummy :o)

The yarn I used for my jar cosy is Lily Sugar 'n Cream which I got from here and I used colours 1712 hot green, 1740 hot pink, 0010 yellow, 1530 country red, 1318 black currant and 1699 tangerine. I used a 5mm hook, and boy did it work up quick - just what I like :o)

As usual, if you spot any dodgyness in this pattern, let me know so I can amend it by either leaving a comment or using my email link on my side bar.

'till next time

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Ricicles Shawl

I was hoping to get one of my older girls to take some photos of me wearing my new ricicles shawl, maybe in the garden in the sunshine. And maybe I would look slim and stylish, and the garden would look tidy. And stylish.  Never quite happened for some reason (?). Not to worry, my mannequin has stepped in for me again - and she does a good job!

This is Sandra's Ricicles Shawl pattern. She is one of my favourite crochet designers and I love the stitch choice in her patterns. Does this sound mad? I just mean I feel quite in tune with her designs and enjoy making them very much. Her patterns are well written and easy to follow - I can't say that about every pattern I have attempted!

And of course I have been lucky enough to meet lovely Sandra too, and she is a real sweetheart :o)

So when she released this shawl pattern I felt quite excited and was eager to give it a go. I just stash raided and found this cotton yarn I had found in a sale bin in a yarn shop in Cambridge. It's Katia pima cotton and it seems a bit difficult to get hold of as I have looked online for more without much success. I love the muted, chalky colours that suit my more quiet moods and the cotton is soft and warm and very wearable.

I thought I had messed this up at one point as even though the pattern clearly states TURN WORK after each row, because I was changing colour I didn't turn work and started on the same edge each row. I do have a thing about the 'wrong' side of stitches, which is silly because lots of patterns have both sides showing - when you need to work in rows rather than rounds. But because I was able to with my colour changes I stuck to working with one side facing me the whole time, and you guessed it. It went squewiff!!

A good block after a gentle machine wash did help a lot, although it's still a little wonky. You can't tell when you wear it like this...

...or like this, so it's not a problem.  I have worn this shawl loads actually, like a scarf mainly as in the above pic. It's nice to wear, it has a soft warmth which is comforting. 

The pattern is a pleasure to make and does work up quite quick - even for slow coach like me. Thanks Sandra for your Ricicles Shawl pattern - my laptop spell-checker has a problem with it (Mac wants it to be recycled), but I certainly love it to bits!!!
Here's a link to my Ravelry page with a bit more yarn info if required :o)

'till next time...

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Wedding Sampler Cushion

Do you remember the cross stitch sampler I have been working (and going on about) ?

Well I have finished it, in good time for 'the deadline' and it has been gifted too!

As it was the first large cross stitch project I have attempted I wasn't able to gauge in advance how long it would take. I knew I had a month to finish it and in actual fact it took me about 3 weeks altogether. I had to be quite strict and not deviate to other projects, but as I needed to finish it for my friends wedding that, and the encouraging support from all you lovely followers, was enough motivation to see me through.

Once I had finished the cross stitching I did give it a wash in warm soapy water to freshen it up, and to get rid of a tiny spot of blood in a really obvious place! (I must've pricked my finger :o) I also pre-washed the other fabrics I was intending to use so if it needs washing in the future any shrinkage will have already been dealt with.

The above fabric is what I picked out to go with the sampler. It was the colours that made the decision to buy this - the cherry red, pink and some light blue were just right to match with my stitching. But when I got home and noticed the name of the print I was delighted as 'love and joy' seems so appropriate for a wedding gift.

And here's the finished cushion! I thought a cushion would be a bit different, and for some reason putting the sampler in a hard frame didn't feel right to me. No, I wanted something soft and homespun, and I am pleased with the result.

I piped all around the edge and I even pushed myself and put a zip opening in!!

The back is just the fabric piece but as it is a busy print I don't think it needed anything else. (I didn't take a photo of my zip opening, which is annoying as it worked out well for once and I was super chuffed with it :o)

I enjoyed this project so much. I found the stitching quite intense ( less relaxing than crochet) but the finished result is worth it. I was glad to have finished it in good time for my friends wedding so it wasn't a last minute rush. 

Her wedding day was beautiful. The weather was happily spring-like and the ring exchange words she and her man had chosen to say to one another were endearing.

I am so happy for my friend. It was a wonderful day.

The only thing I would say about this cushion is that I wished I had mitred the corners of the fabric border so it looked like a ribbon all around the sampler. I didn't actually think of this until I was taking photos of it finished. It would've been hard to do as although the cushion is square, the sampler is rectangle so there would've been tricky angles to deal with. Anyway, by the time I'd thought of it it was too late so it is how it is, and I'd like to think that's okay.

I really am my worse critic, that's for sure!!

Hope you all have a great day!

'till next time...

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Pretty Flower Granny Square

Hello there, hope you all are well today?

A short while ago I posted photos of a cushion I had made and entitled Calming Cushion.  I had lots of comments so thank you for your lovely compliments! One lady said she would've liked to have seen a full tutorial on how to complete the cushion and so as not to disappoint here is the pattern and a few hopefully helpful photos of the square I made for the back of the cushion. The front square and the joining method is by Mille Makes and the tutorial can be found here. These back squares were born because I wanted a flatter square for the cushion back that had the same amount of stitches as the front so when I joined the front and back together they would fit!

Going back over the pattern it did occur to me that this is very similar to one of my favourite granny squares, Rosie Posy Granny Square by the lovely Sandra - so no wonder I like it too! It is a looser, more open version though with a few differences, but it does bring to mind the whole subject of originality. There is nothing unique or original about this, it's just "what I did". I'm not trying to reinvent the wheel, I just like the way it feels :0)  So if you're happy with that, here we go!

Ch 4, join with ss to form ring.

Rnd 1: ch 1 (does not count as stitch) 8dc into ring. ss to first dc to close round.

Rnd 2: ch 2, tr 2 tog into same dc that you made the ss into, ch 3. tr 3 tog ch 3 into next dc and repeat 6 more times. ss into top of first tr 2 tog to close round. (8 petal shapes)

Rnd 3: ss into ch space ch 2, tr 2 tog and ch 3 in same ch space, (tr 3 tog, ch 3) again in same ch sp. (tr 3 tog, ch 3, tr 3 tog, ch 3) in next ch space and repeat 6 times. Join with ss to top of first tr 2 tog to close round. (16 petal shapes). ss into next 2 ch space. 

Rnd 4: ch 2, 2 htr in ch space,  3 tr into next ch space, (3 dtr, 2ch, 3 dtr) in next ch space. * 3 tr in next ch space, 3 half tr in next ch space, 3 tr in next ch space, (3 dtr, 2ch, 3 dtr) in next ch space. Repeat from * 2 more times. 3 tr in next ch space, and then ss into top of starting ch to close round.

How to:-

tr 2 tog : *yo, hook into st and pull through loop, yo, pull through 2 middle loops, yo, hook back into same st and pull loop through, yo, pull through first 2 loops on hook,* yo and pull through remaining 3 loops on hook. (yo is yarn over)

tr 3 tog : do as above from * to * yo, hook back into same stitch again and pull loop through (5 loops on hook) yo, pull through first 2 loops, yo and pull through remaining 4 loops on hook.

I hope I've explained that all okay for you and if you do have a go it works out well. As always leave a comment if you spot any errors!! 

You can pop over to the original post here about the calming cushion as I've updated it to explain how I finished the cushion off.

Happy Hooking!!

'till next time...