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).

Making (slow) Progress

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I’ve got a busy weekend of Woolfest ahead so I’m writing and scheduling this in advance. If you went to Woolfest – I hope you had a lovely time! I’m sure next Sunday’s blog will be Woolfest themed.

I realised that it’s been a while since I updated you on what I’m making outside of work…the reason being that I haven’t had much time outside of work!

I’m still sticking to the one project per category rule that I set myself in a blog at the beginning of the year and seem to be halfway through lots of projects at the moment.

Knitting
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My Jamie cardigan is getting there. I’m only finding a couple of hours a week to work on this so it’s slow progress – but I’ve finished the back and reached the armhole shaping on the fronts. I’m very excited about the pockets!

Crochet
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I started a chevron blanket at the Frank & Olive Crochet retreat – but it wasn’t working for me so I started again and now it’s more of a ripple than a chevron. This is a lovely project to dip in and out of so it’s perfect for knit group and destined to be a baby blanket for my friend’s new baby.

Sewing

I traced and cut out the pattern in brown paper for my Merchant and Mills coat. And now I’ve sort of abandoned it! The sewing bee is getting me all fired up to do some sewing! I just need a bit of time to concentrate.

Patchwork
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I really want to make a hexi patchwork quilt – so I thought I would start with a cushion to practice the paper piecing. I definitely needed the practice! It’s nearly done and I’m hoping a good iron will sort out the lumpy bits.

Garden
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I’ve been busy with day to day gardening jobs and have even managed to encourage a hedgehog into the garden! The big job for this summer was to build some steps to create a seating area – and that is currently on hold. Unfortunately my dad hurt his hip so we won’t be bricklaying for a while – but it’s not really been the weather for sitting out in the garden anyway! I’ve made temporary steps from wobbly piles of bricks so that I can get to the garden bench – and the cats are enjoying the mound of soil!

I hope all your WIPs are going well! x

The Crochet Retreat

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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!

WIP’s

Most makers and knitters who I meet have lots of projects on the go at once. I occasionally come across a knitter who just does one project at a time – finishing one project before starting the next (imagine that!), but when I dig a bit deeper I normally find that they have other creative projects on the go alongside their knitting.

I thought you might like to see my WIP’s (works in progress) – and maybe you can make me feel better if you have a similar number of unfinished projects?!

I always have a lot of projects on the go at once, I’m normally quite good at just working on one garment at a time. But not at the moment! I started Wave from Kim Hargreaves Echoes, and although it’s looking lovely – I’m finding it a bit annoying to knit. Being a pit knitter (I tuck my right needle under my arm), I find circulars a bit slow and awkward, but try to do some of my knitting on straights and some on circulars to help with RSI. I find large sizes particularly awkward, and knitting on one 4.5mm point and one 9mm point just adds another level of fiddlyness!

I’m wishing I’d done it on straights and needed a rest from it, so I got distracted by my Brona jumper in Mohair Haze. It’s so soft to knit with and 38cm of st st with no shaping was perfect to work on whilst at the Knitting & Stitching show, on train journeys to visit friends last weekend and on a couple of lazy days this week whilst recovering from having my wisdom tooth out. I’ve nearly finished the back already!

I also have a large Christmas pressie on the go – but obviously can’t talk about that just yet. Hopefully I’ll get it done in time!

And then there is always the chest of shame. Some of us have ‘the back of the wardrobe’ or ‘behind the sofa’ – I have a wooden chest full of half finished and planned but not started projects. This currently features a lonely mitten, a random granny square which might become a cushion, yarn for a felted bath mat, Some Bow Slippers that need another bow, yarn for wash-cloths and the obligatory half sock. Maybe sharing them here will inspire me to crack on with them!

And of course there are also my sewing projects which I talked about in last weeks blog and my rather epic rag rug! I started it two years ago when I decorated my living room and on a whim decided to rip up the carpet and paint the floorboards – despite it being the coldest room in the house. I do love the floorboards but I’m desperate to get this rug finished as I’m sure it’ll warm up the room a bit. I regularly share close ups over on Instagram (#sundaynightisragrugnight), but I thought I would show you the whole thing so you can see how much is left to do.

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It’s about two metres wide and I started working from the centre out, but when I started to get disillusioned I began working from the centre patch to the edges so that I felt like I was getting more done.

I spend about two hours each week (well – most weeks) on it and it’s taken two years to get to this point – encouragement please!

Rebecka’s Mood Scarf

My good friend Rebecka is one of those rare crafters who finishes things! At sewing group Rebecka normally starts and finishes at least one project- whilst I took me about three years to make my quilt! She sets herself manageable projects and her mood scarf was no different. Rebecka is a crocheter not a knitter, so she knew by doing a couple of rows per day she would finish her scarf much sooner than the rest of us and she wasn’t wrong!

I asked Rebecka a few questions about her mood scarf and here’s what she said-

wpid-img_20140923_130802.jpgHow did you choose the colours for your mood scarf? For example- did you start with the mood and find a colour to match- or choose the colours you wanted and then choose which mood suited the colour?

I had decided that I wanted three colours. One for sad/angry, one for content/normal and one for happy/excited. I picked black for my sad/angry colour, as it is a colour that is often associated with these feelings and because black goes with everything. I picked silvery grey for the content/normal colour, mostly because I like grey and I also felt it matched the mood well. I wanted a contrasting strong colour for my happy colour and chose the pink colour after lots of deliberation and picking up of balls of yarn looking at them and then putting them back on the shelf. I am quite happy with these choices as they as portray my moods nicely as well as going with most of my clothes.

What pattern did you use for your scarf?

I kept it very simple and just crocheted two rows of trebles for each day.

What was your favourite thing about making your mood scarf?

I liked being able to look back over the weeks gone and say ohhh look how happy I have been. It was also fun to do it at the same time as friends, although we all did very different patterns and colours we could speak in terms of colours rather than moods, for example today is a pink day or gosh today was a proper black day!

Did you find reflecting on your mood each day difficult?

I have been doing my reflecting every week rather than every day, so every Tuesday I have sat down and thought of the week gone by. That way I feel I have been able to get the mood of the whole days rather than how I felt just that evening.

Did anything surprise you about your mood scarf? Are you happier than you thought?!

I was happier than I thought which is always good. It also surprised me what caused my bad days. Most of my black days are black because I had a bad headache or because I had slept badly and was cranky all day rather than bad things actually happening to me. A black day could be transformed to a good day just by one nice comment from a friend or a piece of cake (never underestimate the power of cake).

Does your scarf feel special because it’s a reflection of your moods or is it just another scarf?

It does feel special, especially as this period has meant a lot of changes in my life. I have changed jobs and made new friends and it is nice to see how this has effected my mood in a positive way.

Are you still working on a mood scarf? I’d love to see pics and hear your story if you’ve finished already. If you fancy joining in it’s not too late! Find out more here and share pics on my Facebook page. Happy mood knitting!