Saturday, 24 December 2016

Advent Activity

Well, I am now officially an OAP! (For non-UK folks that means Old Age Pensioner, what you Americans  call Senior Citizens -so much nicer!) I was invited, along with my friend Pat, to attend a school band concert and afternoon tea "For the OAPs". Pat's two granddaughters were playing and the standard of musicianship is very high at their school. I actually played BINGO! Not that I won anything but it was a bit of fun, and the music was brilliant. SO, no school Nativity plays for me but I did get into the Christmas Spirit somewhat, at last! And at home the decorations - though minimal - are in place and a very tiny tree is dressed and lit up.

There are a few more presents under the tree now, and our grandson Chris has just been round with his, so it's looking far more Christmassy. I haven't wrapped Jim's yet - his guitar hard gig-bag will NOT be wrapped, maybe a bit of tinsel round the neck!

What's off my hook?

I've hooked about eight blankets or throws, and a couple of cushion covers. One scarf, with the Noro yarn was a cobbled together of two pieces of crochet which resulted in a very uneven shape! It was just rows and rows of trebles, made up as I hooked along. But so far everything has been very simple. I wanted to try something a little more challenging and so loved the look of a chevron scarf - well, almost a shawl - on Pinterest, that I checked out the free pattern on Ravelry. I downloaded the pattern by Dena Stelly, and began the 32 chain foundation. I was quite intimidated at first as it was a quite sparsely worded pattern which left a couple of doubts in my mind - due to my inexperience, not Dena's pattern. However, once the chains and the first row were completed it was plain sailing. I used Rico Creative Melange yarn which is DK but feels more like 4-ply, so I used a 3.5 hook. I'm really pleased with this skinny scarf, it snuggles round the neck beautifully - I might even stitch up the ends and turn it into an"Infinity" or Mobius loop cowl.

Following on the success of the first Melange scarf I hooked a larger foundation chain (62 chains) in a different colour way of the same yarn. People who are used to me working in very bright shades might be surprised to learn I CAN do pale and interesting! The longer chain is SO satisfying to hook - you chevron away for longer before turning and get into a lovely rhythm. I actually feel so relaxed and happy when I'm crocheting, perhaps it should be prescribable  by your GP! The shades haven't photographed very well, but you can see it on the left here. For these subsequent scarves, I used a size 4mm hook, and I like the slightly looser, lacier effect.

The one in the centre is a green and purple colour way which is lovely and I have earmarked this one as a present for someone, but I need to make it up into a cowl.

As I had two more colour-ways I made shorter scarves with the blue and the raspberry shades - these will be cowls, I think. Here are all the scarves folded up.

What's ON my hook?

I saw a pair of WONDERFUL fingerless mittens, sold by Anthropologie, and now sold out - even at the price you'd pay there! The lovely Emma on Potter and Bloom blog has put a youtube video up to show how she has made a similar pair, using granny squares. It looks very simple so I'm about to have a go. The central motif is a puffy flower which I've not made before, so I've learned a new stitch too. I'll keep you posted on how I get on with them! Meanwhile here's as far as I've got!

The centre is actually pistachio green, not lime as it looks here. Greens somehow don't translate well with my camera, sadly.

So, in the run-up to Christmas, that's what I've been getting up to. I know lots of you have been feverishly decorating, making jams and marmalade and puddings and mince pies, and rushing round from one school concert to the next Nativity Play - but life is quieter for us. So whether you celebrate Christmas or not, enjoy the holiday and festive spirit, we can all embrace that, I think!

Tuesday, 13 December 2016


A very quick and short post today ….. I have finished my latest blanket, a gift for my younger son. It's called OCEAN because that is where he loves to be. I wove in the ends and added a couple of rows for a narrow border this afternoon, and am SO happy with it! I think I have managed to complete this in under three weeks. I know some people crochet much faster than that but usually a blanket this size would take me a few months!

Not my usual choice of colours, being neither very bright nor pale and interesting, but I think it's just right for a chap who likes the beach and the sea - what do you think?

I now have some new wool which is making me drool. I just have to decide what the next project is going to be. I don't really need another blanket  - even though Ocean will be posted far away - but I have some lovely patterns which have been calling to me! Though I'd like to do a shawl, if I could find a pattern not too difficult for someone who has most only crocheted throws and cushion covers. The wool is Double Knitting but is very fine, and is gently variegated. I'll show you when I decide what I'm going to make with it!

I expect you'll all be getting frantically busy in the run up to Christmas. I am happy to report we have actually got the decorations (very restrained) up and the tree lit up with fairy lights. All looking fairly festive here. Hope you are feeling the Christmas spirit, and not feeling too stressed out with organising things. I've read quite a few blog posts, and a number of articles recently urging people to not get drawn into the over the top hype, and then feeling inadequate compared to the 'people' in the adverts. Remember everyone will experience some stress, some joy, some disappointment and some happiness. I hope you have more of the good stuff than the not so good stuff!

Tuesday, 6 December 2016


I know. There's no such word. But there should be! I am feeling quite intoxicated by colour, at the moment. I bought a book called Rainbow Crochet Blankets by Amanda Perkins, and I have truthfully been drooling each time I opened it! Her use of colour is masterful despite the blankets being fairly un-complex (mostly). She uses her own hand-dyed 4-ply yarn though her company The Natural Dye Studio was dissolved in 2015, and you can no longer purchase that yarn. She does, however, give a variety of suitable alternatives in the book. I just can't wait to get cracking on something from within those colour-saturated pages!

However, I shall have to wait a while as I'm hooking away madly trying to finish OCEAN, the blanket I'm making for my son Kit. (It's alright, he sussed out that it was for him, darn it - I was sure he didn't read my Face Book statuses!)

It's coming along nicely, and I am enjoying hooking it, but I'm going to have to put a double border round it in two blues, to balance the colours a little better - at the moment I feel the greens dominate, which is not the effect I was intending.

These pretty little beauties are just two-row grannies hooked from a stash of cotton yarn I found a few weeks ago lurking in the sewing room! It is half Rico Creative Cotton, and half something else which I've no label for, and it splits a bit so not as nice to use as the Rico. But I really love the shades, they remind me of a spring flower garden. I think I need another four then I can join them and make a cushion cover. Hmmm, what to make the back from…..

Another chance to see the two Mine and Jim's Summer House blankets, these are made in a Rico cotton blend too, can't remember the name I'm sorry. They do look lovely draped over the arm chairs down there and we both enjoy wrapping them round our legs as the weather has got colder.

For those of you who haven't seen it before, this is the first of my two Ripple Blankets, made from Lucy Attic 24's pattern. Once you get the hang of rippling it is so soothing to work. I'm wondering now whether I ought to have made Ocean using ripple. Ah well, it works well with the two treble patterns I think.

And last but not least, this gorgeous - though I say it myself - scarf I hooked using some beautiful Noro 4-ply yarn. I just love it. Though I have to confess it is cobbled together from two uneven pieces so it has to be draped in a very artistic fashion so you don't notice the wavy sides!

So as you can see, I am heavily in love with crochet at the moment. That's way it goes with me. I'm all over Facebook with it, and have managed to snare a few people into becoming addicts too. I am spending far too much time reading crochet blogs now and I have discovered the many wonderful crochet podcasts. Don't go there unless you want to develop a very late night watching habit! I hope you've enjoyed the new work and the trip down memory lane with the older stuff. Happy hooking until next time!