Saturday, 14 July 2012

off the hook... bamboo cowl

I had the chance to go with Mr H for a job or two this week. It's nice to explore new towns on my own. I picked up some discounted Sirdar Bamboo in a soft shade of grey. I've been trying to use up existing yarn this year so I thought the best thing to do would be to crochet up something quick and easy to avoid adding these balls to the pile!

I experimented with various 'fabric patterns' until I got the desired ratio of holes to stitches (early attempts created too big a mesh). I originally thought it would be enough to do a loose scarf but realised halfway through that it would have to be a cowl.

I'm really pleased with the result because it will give me an alternative to the cowl I made from Erika Knight's 'Crochet Workshop' which ended up being suitable for deepest darkest winters only!

The bamboo yarn is very lightweight but soft and warm. I now wish I'd snapped up some of the other colours! Using a 10mm hook it took no time at all. I'll be having a look through my existing yarns to see if I can find something suitable for another one of these.

Monday, 9 July 2012

off the hook... puff stitch snood

Puff stitch snood sounds more like a cartoon character than a crocheted item doesn't it? The pattern for this can be found in Erika Knight's 'Crochet Workshop'. It's worked in an Aran weight wool and uses puff stitches and trebles to create a fabric that feels a bit like bubble wrap! It took about 3 or 4 evenings and was easy to pick up and put down because of the short rows.

It wasn't planned but since I've done the snood in the same colour as the poncho I now have a kind of removable polo neck part to the poncho.

Now all I need is for the rain to stop and the cricket to be back on and for the evenings to be cool!

Sunday, 8 July 2012

bowled over...

What to do during a week of non stop rain? Indoor bowling. I must admit I was quite keen to stay at home with a steady supply of tea and my crochet, but I got talked into it, and we did have a good time.

Mr H got programmed in as 'Puff the Magic Dragon' thanks to his Dad who phoned a radio station on his 10th birthday and asked for that song to be played. He has never lived it down.

*J* was 'Breadstick' due to his skinny frame. I dreamt up my own nickname 'The Boss' just so they don't forget it! *E* rather strangely decided on 'Innit' because she finds use of that 'word' so amusing.

Goodness only knows what other players thought, they all went with proper names.

Mr H won the first game by bouncing off the rails. I showed them how to play properly without the rails in the second game. Me? Competitive? Nah!

We're now home waiting for the tennis to resume and I'm chilling out with my crochet - a snood from my Erika Knight book.

Friday, 6 July 2012

off the hook...superchunky poncho

I'm really pleased with how this turned out. Poncho's get a bad press but I reckon this one will be frequently used. I tend to feel like a twit huddled under blankets whilst watching cricket matches but believe me it can get really cool.

I made two panels each about 18"x36" and then joined them as per the many poncho diagrams that can be found on the internet. My neck opening was a bit large but it only took two rounds in dc to sort that out. On the second of those rounds I did 2 dc tog every fourth stitch just to reduce the neck hole a bit. I edged the bottom in just one row of dc to neaten it up a bit too. I didn't fancy a fringe!

It took 7 balls of Stylecraft Superchunky in charcoal grey using a 9mm hook and 'rope stitch' which was amazingly quick. Two evenings is all it took from start to finish.

Yep, very pleased with my 'wearable blanket'!

philosophical chat...

I confess I do talk to the dog on occasion, who doesn't? Ahem, well Harvey seems to understand every word I say. He's not impressed with the weather lately but he does like my new poncho. I told him I prefer to call it a wearable blanket, it sounds less geeky. He said, 'fair enough'.

Then he asked if he could have a go with my new app...

Thursday, 5 July 2012

pass me the specs...

You know you're getting old when you need reading glasses to crochet with a 2mm hook and size 10 thread! I hadn't banked on needing them at 42 but hey ho, people keep telling me they look intelligent (what? I look stupid without them?)

So with one eye shut (one of the lenses fell out of my glasses) and hands that are far too big for this kind of thing I tackled the first three flowers for a necklace featured in Erika White's fabulous new crochet book; Crochet Workshop.

I'd resisted buying this one because I thought 'workshop' would mean just covering the basics. There is quite a bit of this at the beginning but the rest more than makes up for that and the natural tones are a breath of fresh air after all the brights!

In addition to the flowers I've also worked up a panel for a poncho using rope stitch which is used in the book for a throw. I couldn't face doing a whole blanket at the moment but still want something snuggly for those evenings watching the last 20 overs of a cricket match when it's getting cooler. I posted a while ago about a poncho I intended to knit using Superchunky but after casting on I realised that knitting is going to be too painful on my wrists. Thank goodness for crochet.

Skinny Hilda will be modelling the poncho sometime soon; it's eating 100g balls in no time at all!

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

eat up Hilda...

Well I have sewn up the side seams on my top. I had high hopes that Hilda would model it while I fashioned the straps but it seems she's been wasting away. Darn it, she's at least a whole size smaller than I am.

So I had to wriggle into the strapless top myself and crochet foundation chain straps in situ. Turns out I need a larger chest to make this a good fit!

There is just too much spare fabric to make spaghetti straps feasible so it's back to the drawing board! I think I will have to make it into a proper vest as per the pattern after all. Drat.

no let up...

Is it me or do you find that being a creative type means you can never quite switch off?

Harvey and I are soaked to the skin after our 'lovely' walk. To be truthful he wasn't that keen on going out at all, which is quite at odds with a dog who will jump in a pond, lake, ocean, with very little encouragement.

I am freshly showered now whilst he is perched upon a warm pile of towels absolutely reeking of damp dog.

So, with a large mug of tea and the dreaded sewing up to put off, I have found a cheesy old film to keep me company while I procrastinate.

I am drawn to films that give me plenty of interesting textiles to look at, particularly if they are historical in some way. I'm not fussy though, cowboy films are just as good for this. It's a shame that the children aren't as into Westerns as my brother and I were, but as I frequently remind them, we did only have three channels (until channel four came along!).

Today's film is called Drums along the Mohawk; we've had shawls, quilts, crocheted bonnets, there's bound to be the odd rug rag too. Nevermind that I'm not switching my ears on today (I do that from time to time to give my brain a rest), it's a visual feast!

keep calm...

I am perhaps a bit slow to catch on with this app. *E* has had it for ages and still gets a giggle out of it. Though the odd swear word creeps into hers now. It still shocks me that I have a nearly 15 year old in the house, and will soon have two children at secondary school!

*J* has a tutor day tomorrow at *E's* school. He is most looking forward to taking a few pounds for lunch rather than a packed lunch (they call them 'pack ups' here btw).

A third cricket match has been cancelled for tonight but *J* isn't so disappointed about that one because he has football training tonight now... in the rain!

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

wet, wet, wet...

I've just made an eleven year old very unhappy and told him that his cricket match has been cancelled, the second match cancelled this week. Tomorrow's match is not looking likely either. A whole week of rain! Unless my beloved iPod is wrong again. Has been known.

Pretty good weather for sitting on a big old crochet blanket, crocheting, with mugs of tea, flapjack (ew, fed up with flapjack already!) and YouTube providing the tunes.


Woohoo! Look at me, I'm blocking! I don't very often block anything but it seemed like a good idea to show the pattern off. I used to think it was a technical process, and I may be missing something, but I just pin it to this old pinboard and spray it with slightly scented water, then leave until completely dry.

I'm half way to finishing the front panel now; it's funny how some patterns hold my concentration for longer. In this case perhaps due to the useful end result.

Monday, 2 July 2012


It's been non stop rain here all day. I've been keeping snug and warm on our super king sized bed for some of the day. A little crochet, a big mug of tea and ahem, a small batch of homemade sugar free flapjack... yes there was some left for my flapjack mad boy for his after school snack. *J* is a very slow eater so he always comes home ravenous after school because he simply doesn't get enough time to eat his packed lunch.

The crochet granny blanket is not my own work, but something I couldn't resist for £3 from a charity shop. It's huge! So much work for so little money. I like to think it used up someone's entire leftovers, and I bet it did because you'd never set out to put these colours together!

Sunday, 1 July 2012


We had to stop for these friendly cows crossing the road on our way back from Scarborough today. This one was about a metre away from the open car window, an inquisitive chap.

Scarborough was sunny, very windy and terribly British today with people of all ages braving the gusts to walk or play on the beach.

I discovered that I'm not all that fond of crab. This one looks rather butchered after my attempts to extract the meat! I'll stick to prawn or crayfish salad in future!