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Thursday, 30 July 2015

Sheep and wool

I hope you are having a good summer; yes it is summer, despite what the weather has been doing lately. Rain, drizzle, showers, storms, spoilt for choice! The weeds in the garden are loving it. In a dry spell yesterday I stepped out of the back door to have a look at all those weeds and got mesmerised by the bees on my lavender, it was covered with them. 
I keep meaning to cut this lavender back and replace it with some new, it's got very woody and old but I definitely want to put more lavender in as a replacement, the bees seem to love it every year. I also saw this little fella who posed nicely for me.
All this weather has kept me indoors pretty much since the weekend which means lots of crochet time. Time to get some unfinished things sorted, first on the list was the sheep blanket that I started ages ago. I was fairly sure that it was nearly done, just a couple more sheep faces to sew on and the edging to do. 
So I started on that and soon realised that this little bit of edging was in fact a mammoth task, 1 dc, chain 5, 1 dc, chain 5 (in front loops)... over and over and over. Wow did that take a long time to do and then when it was done, a row of trebles and then another row of 1 dc, chain 5 etc. 
Usually I quite like this kind of repetitive crochet, it's quite soothing when you get in a rhythm with it but I found this frustratingly slow, inching along for hours. Was it worth it? YES!
I love love LOVE it! Not my usual style at all, all in cream but so effective. Even the sewing of the faces looks good, I was a bit worried that would let me down (I am not a great sewer) but on the reverse it does look quite neat, for me.
Finally I get to tick this one off my list and get on with something else. 
It’s all very well being creative and trying new things in the day time with plenty of light to crochet by and time for my mind to wander and be inventive, but I still need something to do in the evenings that is simple and requires little thought.
This is the bag of stylecraft special DK that I had left over from my last ripple blanket, remember this little bag I made with it last week? Doubled up the yarn to make chunky.
Doubling up yarn is a great stash buster and as I have such a big bag of it, (as well as much more in other colours in bags somewhere) I decided to double up again and make some squares.
Nothing flash or exciting, just humble granny squares but I have never made anything with granny squares so it's about time I did. They certainly meet my requirements of mindless crochet and should help get through some of my stash so I can see what else I have to use. :)


Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Bags and Buns

This is a very strange week for me, the start of the school summer holidays! Six weeks off from work and all that time to do whatever I like. In the past when I've had this kind of time off it has meant unemployment of one type or another and endless days ahead of job hunting and worry, but not this time! I do have a very long list of things to get done over the next few weeks but I have decided to take a few days out to really get into holiday mode. I started by baking some Chelsea buns yesterday.
I LOVE my mixer, makes easy work of any dough making. And oh the heavenly smell when they were baking.
Not bad, they look a little bit singed on top in places but they really weren't and still all soft inside with melted brown sugar, cinnamon and fruit. Yum!
Of course the problem with baking when there are just me and Mr M around means that we also have to eat it all, not good for any diets that we might be trying to stick to, but ah well, I'm on holiday ;)
Any afternoon sit down with buns, tea and a good film wouldn't be complete without something yarny. So I made a rosette for my new little granny stripe bag.

I knocked this very quick and easy bag up on Sunday for something to do. I still had a big bag of stylecraft special DK lying around, left over from my last ripple blanket. As luck would have it, I had small amounts left of each colour and then for most of those colours full balls of yarn too so it made it very easy to use double strands for this little bag, in effect making my own chunky weight yarn.
I have seen many bags around like this so I won't be writing the pattern up but you can see here how it was made. Rows of DCs for the bottom, a few rows of granny stripes then a few more rows of DCs for the top. To make the handle space I chained 16, skipped 16 stitches and then on the way back DC 16 in that chain space. Easy peasy!

I think today will follow much the same pattern as yesterday, minus the baking. I’m not sure what I will be making next but after a bit of chunky crochet I fancy something a bit more fiddly and delicate, and I have lots and lots of time to do it :)


Sunday, 12 July 2015

Circle Square Bag Ta-Dah!

I've had a wonderful week of crocheting. Last weekend I was hit by inspiration and dropped everything else to cracking on a new idea. It has been one of those crochet projects that just gripped me and HAD to be made. It’s been a while since I've been really excited to make something, where you get that fizzy excited feeling in your stomach. I started by making circles... lots of circles

Ooh so pretty! As soon as one was finished I picked another colour and made another and then another...

24 in total but not finished there, they needed squaring off.
The squaring off took slightly longer than I had hoped, with the weekend all used up making circles the squaring had to be done in the evenings, or lunch breaks or any spare 5 minutes I could find in the week! But still feeling really excited to get them all made.
It is hard to be random with colours. I didn't want two squares the same, didn't want all of the pinky purply ones to be matched with other pinks and purples so it took some careful planning to get the colour combinations just right. My margin of error was quite small as I was rapidly running out of yarn (the remnants of my Drops cotton merino) so couldn't afford any wastage. But yesterday evening I got the last circle squared.

You might notice that I didn't use any of the pistachio for squaring. This was on purpose as I wanted to use that to attach the squares together and I just knew I wouldn't have enough for both.
The assembly took some thinking about, no pattern to follow so I laid them out carefully in the shape I would need them (sort of) and spent a bit of time getting them in a nice arrangement of colours.

From this point it didn't take long to get them all together and this bag finished. Yes, another bag! I absolutely love it!!!


Ok so I'm not really sure about the straps/handles, I didn't want to crochet any as for one I have well and truly run out of this yarn and second, crochet straps can show wear quite quickly. These chains that I have used on this bag have been pinched from another bag that I had kicking around. I think they will be temporary as I would like some nice bright leather type ones that will be nicer to sling over my shoulder.
If you would like to make a bag like this, I used my circle-square pattern which can be found here. You will need 24 of them. Getting them together into this shape is a bit tricky but if you do it logically and take your time it is quite a quick process.

I really am thrilled with how this turned out and I have enjoyed every last stitch! It has been a while since I have enjoyed making anything as much and I think that is down to the pretty pretty yarn, I might have to get some more!