Another Lockdown Cushion!

As well as finishing off a couple of half done cushions during lockdown… I also started a new crochet cushion to go with the paintings in our living room.

We have four Alan McPherson paintings in our home – two of which were wedding gifts from Alan and his family and we absolutely love them! One of the paintings we have in the living room is from the eighties and other is more recent – from the Positions series.

I love the echos of shape and colour between the two paintings – almost 40 years apart, and have decided to redecorate the living room around them.

We’ve chosen Mid Azure Green from The Little Green Paint Company for the main colour, but have come to a bit of a standstill on the decorating as I discovered some bigger (expensive) jobs that need doing by an expert before I can crack on. Oh… the joy of old houses!

So in the meantime I finished my Alan McPherson inspired scrappy crochet cushion!

I’ve never crocheted a garment and therefore never measured my crochet guage – but I’m pretty sure my stitches come out too short. Squares certainly never come out square for me… so it took a bit of blocking!

I’ve also made a new cover for my Ercol armchair cushion as the old one wasn’t removable/washable… and the cats love that chair so it was a bit furry. I opted for denim – partly because I think it will wear well, but mainly because I had enough in my stash!

It has a zip so it’s removable for washing and I also had enough fabric to use it for the back of the crochet cushion as well.

The cats are already giving it a lot of kneading… by the time I can redecorate everything will have been well loved!

Crochet

Everywhere I turn at the moment I’m surrounded by beautiful crochet! I’m looking forward to picking up my hook and working on my crochet skills once I’ve knitted my Esme cardigan.

I’ve never been tempted to crochet a garment before – granny square/hexi blankets normally keep me happy. But when I saw Water Clover by Isa Catepillán in Pom Pom Quarterly a few months ago I fell in love!

I originally saw Constance Caddell’s version of Water Clover on Instagram and she is continuing to inspire me, having now also made a gorgeous version of Aster from Filigree by Marie Wallin.

Then, last weekend, I was lucky enough to work alongside the lovely Emma Varnam and her Crocheted Succulents at Black Sheep Wools Yarn Shop Day.

If you follow me on Instagram then you probably know that despite being a keen gardener… I regularly kill succulents! Our house is quite dark and I think I just give them too much love but not enough sun! So crocheted succulents might be the way forward for me.

And then to top it off-Eleanor from Knit Nottingham made this lovely jumper! I love the detail on the back – which I didn’t actually notice until I saw it in person despite her clever mirror pic on Instagram!

The pattern was designed for King Cole by the talented Zoe Halstead who works at Knit Nottingham. And Eleanor gave me some details on her version below…

“I did it in a yarn called Belmonte by Rosarios4 who are a Portugese company – this will be on the website soon. It’s a DK weight 50% organic cotton, 50% organic wool and £4.00 a ball and took about 8 balls – I’m 42″ ish bust. Really gorgeous.

I then dyed the yarn with acid dyes. I mixed up the dyes with barely any pigment and loads of water so it smooshed into itself, then I left it for a few minutes so the colours could really blend and then I microwaved it to buggery. The dye won’t take to the cotton so I imagine the first time I wash it it’ll all come out of that and hopefully stay on the wool. That was the idea anyway.”

Thanks for sharing Eleanor! Who else is in the mood for a bit of crochet now?!

Crochet Rug

I’ve got plenty of lovely knitting on the needles… but sometimes you just want to whip up something quick and simple!

I bought a couple of packs of Rowan All Seasons Cotton years ago (it’s now discontinued) with the intention of knitting covers for my rocking chair cushions. That never happened! Our bedroom rugs were looking a bit tired and tatty so I decided to use the yarn to crochet a new rug to sit at the end of the bed.

It’s a bit floppy for a rug so I’ve used some starch it make it a bit firmer… and only time will tell how hard-wearing it is! I’ve put some non-slip rug backing underneath but haven’t attached it so the rug will be easily washable.

I used two strands of All Seasons Cotton and a big hook so it was super quick to crochet and is lovely and squishy underfoot! The doubled yarn and the colour gives it a lovely macrame-like texture.

Yay for quick, satisfying projects!

Milo’s Blankie

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I’ve always enjoyed knitting more than crochet – probably just because knitting is my first love. But ever since my friend Rebecka crocheted a ripple blanket in all the colours of the rainbow…I’ve really wanted to crochet a ripple blanket!

img_20161106_194618.jpgI found out that my friends Ben & Lou were having a baby around the same time I found out that Beardie’s sister was having a baby – and immediately started knitting Sarah Hatton’s super cute Marta dress. Shortly after I found out that Ben & Lou were having a boy…and was relieved when Beardie’s sister had baby girl Emma – who looks beautiful in her Marta dress!

I made Lou’s first baby, Polly, a quilt (yes… I named Polly Elephant in my Nursery Collection after her). So I decided that a blanket would be perfect for baby number two, and a great excuse to make a ripple blanket!

2017-01-12-22.25.34.png.pngI started it at The Crochet Retreat last spring and lovely Ruby helped to get me started. Initially the ripples were meant to go in the other direction – but I made the starting chain too long and it came out much wider than I estimated…so the width became the length!

I used Patons Extrafine Merino which is super soft and machine washable so it’s perfect for babies and I’ve been using it a lot for the Hollies Nursery Forest School Friends. I used 3 balls each of the five colours plus extra of the grey to make the border.

The nicest thing about making stuff for friends and family is knowing that they get used/worn. I love it when I see my mum wear the cardigans I knitted her. She told me that she folds her Kidsilk Haze cardigan up in tissue paper every time she’s worn it…isn’t that lovely? Lou said that Polly has the quilt I made on her bed and Milo has used his new blanket every day! I’m chuffed to bits that they like it.

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So if someone has made you something – wear it! use it! And most of all – send us pictures please (us knitters/crocheters love that!…thanks for the pics Lou x).

The Crochet Retreat

Fireplace

Last weekend I was lucky enough to be a guest knitting tutor at The Crochet Retreat with Frank & Olive!

I do bits and bobs of crochet, but knitting is my first love so it’s not something I do often. It was really different to be surrounded by crocheters who knit a bit rather than knitters who crochet a bit! It was such a lovely group of ladies – with one even coming all the way from Italy for the weekend!

We did a few small crochet-alongs throughout the weekend, including cacti and Big Wool heart cushions, We went for walks and found zillions of bluebells and we ate beautiful vegan food made by lovely Ava of Guac & Roll.

All in all – it was a wonderful weekend and I even started a new crochet project – a zig zig blanket. It would’ve been rude not to at a crochet retreat!

Thankyou Ruby, Kim, Ava and my fellow crochet retreaters for a lovely weekend x

 

Felted Bathmat

felted1I normally have more than one knitting project on the go so that if I’m not in the mood for one – I can just pick up another!

I’ve set myself the goal this year of just having one garment on the needles at a time. It’s only February and I’m already struggling with this! My current garment is Brona, which is knitted in a fluffy 4ply (Mohair Haze) on 3mm needles. I’m really enjoying knitting it – but I’m also really craving my next project which is an aran cabled cardie!

In a bid to stick with my goal of one garment at a time, I decided to start a quick and easy crochet project to work on when I wasn’t in the mood for 4ply (crochet is a different category so it doesn’t count. I’m not cheating!).

I’ve been (very gradually) decorating our bathroom and decided to crochet a bathmat, using felted Rowan Creative Focus Worsted. I have used this yarn in quite a few of my felted designs – Bobble Bathmat from Cute Little Knits and the Felted Toy Basket & Circular Felted Rug from The Knitted Nursery Collection. It makes a lovely sturdy felt and I had quite a few part balls knocking around!

I doubled up the yarn and used a large crochet hook so it was really speedy to make. I washed it at 40 degrees, which means it should be fine now to re-wash on 30 delicates without shrinking further. I sort of wish I’d made myself the Bobble Bathmat instead – because the texture of the felted bobbles is lovely! But I do find crochet really relaxing and it gives me a break from tiny knitting needles.

After a little rest I feel ready to get on with Brona and it’s coming along nicely now. I just need to finish the front and knit the sleeves. Well – about halfway there anyway!

Christmas Crochet

blanket_croppedI hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and found some time to relax and knit in between gifts and food!

I have been secretly working away all year on a blanket for my Mum & Dad’s Christmas gift. I decided in January that I would start it nice and early and be super prepared. It was a pretty slow start because I was still working on my boyfriends Christmas scarf from the previous year and was incredibly busy with work, but I made a start nonetheless!

I crocheted a few squares throughout the year, but wasn’t hugely surprised when I reached November and had only done about a third of the blanket!

I decided to do some plain squares and some mixed and was a bit worried that it was looking too random! After being inspired by a friend at knit group who was joining a granny square blanket whilst at the same time creating a grid border, I decided to introduce a different shade of blue to bring it all together.

I did something unheard of – I finished a Christmas present with two weeks to spare! And it’s huge – a good size for a double bed. Granny squares are so quick and easy – I love them.

I’m scheduling this blog before Christmas so I don’t know yet if my parents like it, but I’m really happy with it so I hope they do!

Granny Square Cushion

cushioncurtainI had hoped that writing my blog about unfinished projects would spur me on to finish some. It worked!

One of the projects I found was a granny square which was originally going to be an arm cover for my sofa. One of my cats is pretty well behaved because I’ve had her since she was a kitten and managed to train her not to scratch the sofa or chase yarn. Noodle on the other hand – I adopted as a teenager and he has destroyed the arms of my sofa!

A granny square cover would’ve looked lovely, but I quite quickly came to my senses and scrapped the idea because Noodle would still have scratched – and it wouldn’t take long to destroy a granny square! So plan B was to buy some wool blankets to match my curtains, cut them up and sew them to shape as arm covers. They’re not perfect – but a lot better than the mess underneath them and easy to replace. Strangely enough – Noodle has left them alone so far!

I had enough fabric left from two blankets to make a cover for the cushion pad on my Ercol armchair and to cover one side of a cushion for the back of the armchair. This was obviously meant to be so my Ercol has now been swapped with Grandad’s old rocking chair, and relocated to the living room.

I’d completely forgotten about the granny square until I wrote my WIP’s blog! It’s perfect because I had planned the colours to work in the living room and it was almost the right size for the cushion pad (I took back a few rounds). It’s one of those projects that’s been going on for a while and suddenly everything came together and worked perfectly!

I really must dig out my unfinished projects more often!

Comfort blankets

I always seem to have a million projects on the go at once! How many projects are you working on at the moment? Whatever else I’m doing- I always have some sort of blanket on the go.

For me, nothing is  more comforting, or puts life in perspective more than curling up on the sofa with some knitting . After a long day I never feel like tackling a complicated fair-isle or starting a new pattern from scratch, but a simple knitted square or crocheted hexagon can really help me to switch off and recharge for the following day. And if I can curl up under a handmade blanket whilst knitting, then that’s double comfort!

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Blankets are a fantastic stash buster and I started my hexagon crochet blanket after seeing a lovely one made by my friend Amy. Her colours were a lot more organised than mine, but I decided from the start that I wanted to make it as random as possible. I threw all my DK and lighter aran weight oddments in a bag (including a few shades I wasn’t keen on) and started picking colours at random. Through making this blanket I have discovered a love for yellow and rusty orange!

The blanket has become a bit interactive, with contributions from Eleanor of Knit Nottingham and Steph of Nettynot– although I’m not sure which hexi’s were theirs! I’ve also been asking people from Knit in Notts (or whoever I’m with whilst crocheting) to choose colours for me. I’ve ended up with combinations I wouldn’t have chosen but rather like! There has also been a lot of closing my eyes and doing a lucky-dip for four colours!

A couple of rogue pentagons have made it into the mix- but I’m just going with it. That’s the beauty of a blanket- it doesn’t need to fit and if it’s a bit higgledy- piggledy it just adds to the charm!

I’ve got a little way to go until it covers a double bed- but I’m enjoying using it already! What do you find most comforting to knit/ crochet? Something simple- or do you thrive on a challenge?