Saturday, 10 December 2011

100 Flowers in the Snow and it is Snowing

Last night I finished joining together all of the 100 Flowers in the Snow.
Woke up this morning to this, the first snow of the year.
Here's a picture of the complete blanket laid out on the rug:

And here is the back to give an indication of the number of ends that need to be sewn in on a blanket of this type.You can see where I have started to do this already.It will take a couple of nights of movie watching to finish this.

I'm not sure at the moment whether to make this bigger - it is about half the size needed for a single bed. I might just leave it this size. Can't decide :)

Friday, 9 December 2011

Best Crochet Snowflake

This is the best crochet snowflake ever. There are lots of lovely crochet snowflake patterns out there, but most of them are made in very fine crochet thread, and beautiful as they are, they would take me a week to make.

This one takes a few minutes to make, and the pattern is easy. I make several of these each year. This year: red, to match my lovely fake tree :) I decided that at £10 a foot for a real one plus £12.50 for a log stand, I would economise with a £19.99 fake one from B&Q. I'm not really really sure that I like it, but its cheery and does the job.

The free snowflake patten is here.

They also make great parcel decoration for Christmas presents.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

How to crochet a tiny flower

It took me longer to crochet two tiny flowers for my new gloves than it took me to crochet the gloves.

I experimented with various people's patterns for small flowers, and in the end, none of them were small enough, so I made this up myself.

The ones I chose are the smallest ones in the bottom of the picture above. Here's how to make them.
Make a magic loop and into it do 10 double crochets (US single crochet).
Join up this round with a slip stitch.
(Now if you hate a magic loop, then don't worry. Just do a little chain 4 and join it with a slip stitch, and into that little loop do your 10 double crochets).

Then for the next round, notice that you have 10 double crochets, and you are making a flower with 5 petals, so each petal uses up 2 of those double crochet spaces from the first round. So, here goes:
double, half treble, double in the first space
then slip stitch into the next space
then start again with double, half treble, double into the next space
then slip stitch into the next space
then keep going like this until you have 5 petals, and slip to first chain to join.

When you are sewing on the flowers, put the glove on your hand first before positioning the flower. The flower is not in the middle of the glove and the easiest way to get it looking good is to try it on first.

Have fun!

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

How to make the easiest crochet gloves

Here's how to make the easiest crochet gloves on the planet.

I make these every year. Every year, up here in Edinburgh, when it starts to get cold, I'm on the Brora website choosing myself a few pairs. Then reality sets in, and I decide that I'm not in an income bracket that can spend £150 on gloves. So I decide to make them. Here's last year's stripey ones since stripey clothing seemed to be trendy last year. Last year's stripey easiest gloves

So, looking for something a little more grown up this year, to match my black Boden coat with the yellow buttons, I choose a black Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino, with a mustard yellow trim.

I feel like Laura in the Little House on the Prairie. I think my favourite bit of the story was when they used to go to the store to choose fabric for their dresses, and Laura having brown hair always got the pink trim, whilst Mary with her blond hair wore blue. Anyway, I digress....

This first stage may involve a little experimenting. You need to work out how wide to make them. No - don't give up now, it is not difficult, and I'm here to help.

If you don't want to measure, then copy mine. As I mentioned last year, I have quite large hands with long fingers, so you will have to scale down if you are more normal than me.

Using Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino or a similar yarn, and a size 6 mm hook, I cast on 25 stitches for my "large" size hands. If you take a medium glove, then 23 stitches, and 21 stitches for little petite hands.

Now, change to a 5mm hook.

The reason I cast on a with a bigger hook than the rest of the work is to make sure that the first row is not too tight and doesn't pinch when the gloves are worn.

So, now with that 5mm hook, do 3 extra chains, and then do a half treble (UK) or half double (US) into each of the next 24 chain stitches to the end, giving 25 stitches across.

If you don't know how to do a half treble(UK) (half double as you US based crocheters call it), then don't panic. It is easy. Pretend you are doing a treble (UK) or double (US), then stop when you get to 4 stitches on the hook - and then pull the yarn through all. Here's a little picture of the step you get to in a half treble when you have the 4 stitches on the hook. So from here, just pull that hook through all of those stitches in one go, leaving you with just one stitch on the hook.

That's it, easy. If it stresses you to do a half treble (double) then don't bother: do a normal treble (double). The glove will not be as dense, but it will still be nice (and you will finish it quicker).

Do a couple of rows and then measure them against your fingers.  I like mine to be a little loose on the fingers, and to come up to about half way between the first and second finger joints, like this:

If you don't like the width, then go back to your first chain and add or remove a few stitches. This is the end of the measuring, experimental bit.

( I did two rows of mustard at each end to get the yellow trim. You don't need to do this if you don't like it. You could work them all in one colour).

So now, this is the bit where you get a film on, and really Miss Marple is the only one to crochet to :)
Open a box of chocolates, put your feet up, and keep going, crocheting back and forwards till you reach the right length.

Now a tip here. If like me you get a bit carried away watching Marple (only kidding!) then you may get to the end and realise that you have dropped or added a stitch, and that your lovely rectangle is more triangle than rectangle. I have done this so many times! So at the end of each row, just take a quick break and count back along that row making sure you still have the same number of stitches as in the first row.

Continue until the work measures the correct length for you. What do you mean? Correct length! I hear you say. Don't worry - you know how long you like gloves. For me, they go from between the first and second finger joints down to about 2-3 inches below the bend in my wrist. You might like them shorter. Don't make them much longer though, since there is no shaping in these, and unless you have arms like Betty Spaghetti they are going to be too tight on the arms.

Make another one. Oh no! Don't make me watch another movie, and eat another box of chocolates!

The sew them up, and Enjoy.

I added a little flower to each of mine. Instructions in the next post.

Monday, 31 October 2011

Getting a Straight Crochet Square

This is the pattern I see a lot on the internet - the edging is all done in treble crochet. I've crocheted this up just to demonstrate what I mean. Look at the straight outer edges - they bulge a little in the middle. I'm not happy with this. When it is joined, it will bulge in an ugly way, and the bulges will be magnified at the outer edges of the blanket, giving a wavy, scalloped effect, rather than a straight edge.

Here's an improvement, using trebles in the middle of the outer edge, and extra long trebles for the corners. It has straightened up: the edges no longer bulge, and this would join up nicely, but in my opinion it will give too much white between the flowers. Another reason for not choosing this is that I don't really like doing the long trebles.

So here is the final version which as you can see is also straight edged, but has reduced in size.
 So, this is the one, with trebles in the corners, and half trebles in the middles.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

100 Flowers in the Snow

 Or 93 Flowers in the Snow to date. Need to do a handful more and finish off sewing in the ends.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Change to URL

I've changed to

You should be re-directed. Please point your bookmarks in my new direction.

Apologies if you are inconvenienced.

Thank you so much.

Back soon with more crochet related news. The flowers in the snow blanket is progressing well. I just need to buy the "snow" now. I'm very picky about what colour of white to get, so have been unable to choose so far :) It is not holding back progress though, since I have approximately 600 wool ends to stil sew in.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Bright Flowers Crochet Blanket

Here we are - in progress. I like to lay it out on the carpet, like this, so that I can judge what other colour combinations I need to add. I'm thinking that there is too much hot pink and purple here. I need to add more blue. Also considering adding in some green if I can find a good green. I'm intending to join these all together with white, for the traditional - flowers in the snow - look, so I have not added white yet. I might add in some grey or black later. Still a long way to go.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011


Sometimes I like a colour combination so much that I make all permutations.I'm obsessed with not having 2 of the same square in a blanket. These rounds will be squared off when joined together.

Other times, the colour combination will not work for all permutations. This dark purple, dark blue, violet combination only works for me when the dark colours are not next to each other. So, only 2 permutations are possible here.

Crochet Colours

This kitchen island, made entirely of Lego is from Maison Francaise, September 2009 edition.

20,000 pieces of lego, 7 days to construct, and cost about 1000 euros. I showed this to my husband, and instead of saying "madness" there was that wicked glint in his eye. I said - if you had 1000 euros to spare would you? - "yeah" - we both said at the same time :)


I reckon that the choosing of the colours, and colour placement would be a lot like choosing the colours when making a blanket. You know when you've done, say lilac, purple, then do you choose pink, or do you choose yellow? I think that one of the best things about crochet in multi-colour is that interaction of colours. Would be very similar I think making this.

Not so sure what my postman would say when I got the required 53 boxes of lego delivered? Or what my boss would say when I asked for a week off work to play with Lego :)

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Choosing Colours

I always find choosing colours very traumatic. Some wool ranges are better than others, but often you find that the colours in the range just don't seem to go with each other. So for example, there might be a nice pastel yellow, pink and blue, but the only green is a completely luminous glow in the dark acid colour.

What I try to do is choose pinks - blues - purples then, I make the best of the rest.
For each of : pinks, purples and blues, I try to pick a pale pastel, then a mid colour, and then a bright. So for the pinks I'll choose a baby pink, a rose pink, and then a hotter pink. That usually works. Then I check that the pales all match, the mids all match, and the darks all match. So for example, I check that the baby blue, the baby pink and the baby purple look ok together.

Then its on to trauma territory, because I hate yellow, but know that it tends to make other colours sing. So I choose the least worst yellow - usually a mid tone if they have it.

I find that the worst colours are the greens. Green is my favourite colour, but there are usually very few greens in a range. Mostly the greens are a dark earthy sage colour. I'll take that if there is nothing else, but try to find a mid green if there is one.

Red I love, but often find that the red in a range clashes horribly with the hottest pink. Sometimes I'll take it, sometimes not.

Then I look at the other colours, and see if they tone in with what I have already - I might choose a hotter orange, but never peach since peach is my worst ever colour (worse than yellow).

Then the base colours - I never use black. I sometimes take a soft grey if it tones in. I usually prefer a cream to a white, so long as it is not yellow toned.

The pictures are Rowan DK wool, one of the better ranges for having colours that match each other. It is expensive though.

Off on a work trip till the end of the week to Cambridge. Hoping I can sneak out at lunch to find a wool shop, but suspect we will be having working lunches, sigh :)

Monday, 10 October 2011

Little Flowers Cushion

Just found this in a bag in the linen cupboard when I was tidying up. I forgot that I made this cushion front earlier in the year. It is made from Rowan DK wool: lovely colours, but quite expensive so I don't use it much.

Now I need to sew in the ends and sew it onto a cushion cover.

edited to add:

I'm particularly bad at keeping the sleeves around wool, but from memory the colours used were :
008 Marine (mid blue)
044 Frost (pale blue)
046 Tudor Rose (pale pink)
042 Dahlia (mid pink)
037 Port (burgandy pink)
002 Shale (grey)
019 Avocado (green)
036 Kiss (red)
013 Enamel (cream)

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Summer Squares Blanket

After having advised all travellers to travel as lightly as possible, to pack their possessions into the littlest bag possible. After having packed the car to drive to France for the summer holiday. Small car, 2 kids, 2 adults = one very full car.

Then on my way to pick my husband up at work, to start the journey, I just had to stop at a wool shop for a little look.

I came out of the wool shop, happy with myself, whistling tunelessly, bag in each hand, containing 20 large 100g balls of wool ....oops....literally no room in car at all. I mean... at all.

Youngest child travels to France with feet propped up on case...

Here's the result.

The edges are straight in real life, but today when I took these pictures, it was windy and starting to rain. I held the blanket down with pebbles and my foot, but the edges still look a bit wibbly.

I used 11 colours plus 4 balls of blue for the outline, then zipped round 10 times with odd wool for the border. All of the squares are different, but each one contains all 11 colours.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Bring Me Sunshine

It is feeling a bit end of summer here; end of season, like a 1950s holiday camp packing up at the end of summer.

The bunting on the shed is looking a bit forlorn and droopy in the grey light.

A few shells lie scattered around from beach trips.

And there is a little pile of beach stones at the front door.


There's only one thing for it.... Get out the wool odds and ends.... it is time for a new blanket.

Not having completely given up on summer, this one is for the backseat of my pale blue VW Beetle for little winter trips to the beach.

I'll race along the beach, in the cold north Edinburgh wind - "bracing" they call it - and then dive back into my beetle to watch the waves, with a cup of coffee from my thermos and a digestive biscuit or two to nibble on.

p.s. I don't actually own a pale blue Beetle, but we can all dream can't we? :)

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Christmas Books: Kevin McCloud's 43 Principles of Home

Here is my final Christmas Book, by Kevin McCloud of UK Channel 4's Grand Designs (amongst other things).

I thought that this was going to be a lightweight, "eye candy" kind of book, but I was wrong. Pictures are good, but are few and far between.

He is very interested in "good" design and architecture, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that the book is heavily into sustainability.

Here are some of the pictures from the book.

If you saw Grand Designs then you will recognise this next picture as the home of Ben, the charcoal maker. Ben lives in a wood in Suffolk, coppicing and tending the forest and making charcoal. Previously he lived in a variety of temporary caravans and tent-like treehouses, but eventually he got almost unheard of planning permission to build a house in the wood. He cannot sell the house or pass it on, and if he stops working the wood, he has to demolish the house.

Grand Designs has many very expensive houses built to huge budgets. Turns out though that this is Kevin's favourite. In the TV show, Kevin asks Ben about the price of the house, and claims that it is a very cheap house because the budget is only something like £23K. Ben replies something like - that is a LOT of money for me. He gets friends to help him build the house, paying them in hospitality and sustainable building skills training. When Kevin goes back to visit him a year or so later, the house is complete, and a wife and little baby have arrived in the wood. Everyone loves this house, and it is easy to see why.
All in all, a great book, but not if you are looking just for eye candy.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Cornishware Crochet

A "Cornishware" crochet pot for a little avocado seed.

Although this colour scheme is new, I make these little pots a lot. They are also good as little vases made by covering jam jars. This one has a plant pot in it, so I've wrapped it in a poly bag to keep the water in.

The "pattern" is the following:

All in DC (UK), SC (US), each round is joined up with a slip stitch to the first stitch of the round. Make a flat circle like this:

Magic loop to start (or chain 4 if you prefer and slip stitch together into a little loop).
Round1: 6 DC
Round2: 2 DC into each stitch from the previous round (so you have 12 stitches).
Round3: repeat: 2 DC, DC, all the way round (18 stitches)

You are trying to get the size of the base. If you need to make it bigger:
Round4: repeat 2 DC, DC, DC all the way round 
Round5: repeat 2 DC, DC, DC,DC all the way round

(you see the pattern here - add another DC each round)

Then when it is big enough, start making each round just DC all the way round, joining with a slip stitch at the end of the round.

To make the "Cornishware" alternate colours every 3 rows.

Now I just need to figure out how to make the "Domino" Cornishware pattern - a little more difficult I think, lol.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Crochet Ball Chain

My house is looking really plain now that the decorations are down. Here in the north of the UK, there is generally not much light in the winter so a few pops of colour to cheer us up work well.

I've very happy with the new blankets. Not sure where they will end up, but they are on a chair beside the fireplace today.

Here are the little crochet balls, threaded on a piece of wool, with a crochet chain at each end to tie on. They are quite fiddly to make, so this week, I have only made a little chain, but I like how they cheer up the fireplace.

Homemakerstales asked me whether I used Farrow and Ball paint. I've used "Blackened" for the fireplace , which was previously orange pine, and "Pavillion Gray" for the cupboard in the top picture. I've yet to use F and B wall paints but look forward to choosing some when I'm ready to paint the walls.