Saturday, 16 April 2022

Some April finishes

Hello everyone and how are we all doing ? Thanks for all the replies on my previous post, if you missed it I released my first podcast epsiode! Please do go watch and give me a comment or a thumbs up :)

Its Easter school holidays here so the days feel very lovely and relaxed with a slow pace. Spring is firmly here, in fact Summer is putting in an appearance, we were at a barbeque yesterday all day, and this afternoon I got a wee bit burnt in the sun - oops!


I have a few finishes to share with you. My local crochet group, the Barkham Hoookers, make post box toppers for all our local postboxes, so I decided to participate and made one for the post box down the road from me. I measured the post box, it was about 20" in diameter, with a sort of ridge which was a couple of inches deep. In my stash was this hideous (in my opinion!) Grass Green Stylecraft Special DK. I think someone must have given me it, I definitely didn't buy it, that's for sure! My plan was to crochet a plain green topper and decorate it round the edge with flowers. The post box is quite tall and the top wouldn't be very visible so I only really needed flowers for the edging. Using the Grass Green I crocheted a large flat circle. A couple of times I took it to the post box to try it on, feeling very silly and self-conscious! when my circle was around the size of the flat top of the post box I ran out of Grass Green and decided then to switch to some Cypress, also in Stylecraft Special DK, and of which I had a half ball in my stash. With the Cypress I carried on crocheting but did no further increases so it started to come down at the sides into a cylinder shape. 

Eventually I ran out of Cypress too, but by that point I reckoned the topper was big enough, so I whipped up a coupe of dozen little flowers and attached them onto the Cypress section as you can see in the photo above. And then it was time to put it on the post box - excitement was high let me tell you! And amazingly it fitted perfectly ...

Its fastened on by a long chain of chains which is then woven through the trebles of my last round, and then pulled taut gathering the edge in.  I am so chuffed with it, doesn't it look great! Honestly I wasn't sure it would fit, despite trying it out several times, but it's spot on.

The tag that's on it says something along the lines of "We hope this has brightened your day, if you'd like to brighten someone else's day please use the QR code below and donate to our Ukraine charities". The tag has a QR code on it which leads to a justgiving page or similar for Ukraine charities. So a worthwhile cause too.

Speaking of Ukraine I also crocheted up some blue and yellow hearts which were going to welcome packs being given to Ukrainian refugees in our area. More are arriving every day and so more hearts are needed too. I won't dwell on it, what's happening is awful, and I only wish there was more I could do.

Another Ukraine fundraiser is the Fields of Gold blanket by Jane Crowfoot. I bought the pattern purely as the profits go to Ukraine charities, I had no intention of making the blanket, and instead I decided to crochet one of the sunflowers into a mandala. I just used Stylecraft Special DK from my stash so the colours are slightly different to Jane's original colours. I used Gingerbread, Gold, Tomato, Dandelion, Claret, Parchment, Cypress, Meadow, Teal and Lapis.

I love the 70's vibe of the first few rounds ...


Whilst crocheting my mandala I happened to read Lucy of Attic 24's blog post about the very same mandala - Lucy had put her's into a hoop, and I loved the idea, so I ordered a 30cm hoop off amazon - hurrah for prime - it arrived the next day, just in time for me to finish my mandala. I think it was more luck than judgment but it fitted perfectly.


I've also been making some much bigger mandalas, another Barkham Hookers project, a secret one (the same one as my bunting in this post). This time the mandalas were made using Stylecraft Special Chunky, in Midnight, White and Lipstick. I used a couple of different patterns from this book...


... and I ordered some humungus hoops off ebay, the ones I chose are 92cm in diameter. As I was using chunky yarn the mandalas worked up pretty quickly, and then I used a long chain of chains to weave the mandalas into place ... I'm pretty pleased with them ... 


They look rather fabulous hanging up in the sun ...


I've been working like a mad woman on my lacy scarf. If you remember this was from a pattern from ThePoshCrochet, a Ukrainian etsy seller, which I bought as a digital download. Its crocheted along the length of the scarf - the starting chain was 450 - and so is only about 24 rows.  You can just about make out the pattern - its in need of some severe blocking I feel,,,

I finished my first skein at about row 20, and decided to start a second skein, so I've had to do a couple of pattern repeats on the fly. Its a bit tricky as the stitch count increases so I'm totally winging it, I've made sooooo many mistakes but either spotted them and reectified them, or fudged it, and it seems to be working so far! 

I seem to have been working on it forever though and it feels like I've not got very far, but when I lay it all out in folds you can see that I've actually done quite a lot. Hopefully just another couple of days should do it though, especially as its Easter and we have no plans, allowing lots of quality time with my hook!

Hope you all have a lovely Easter,

Til next time,

Jillxxx



Monday, 11 April 2022

Podcast Episode 1

Thanks for visiting me here at my blog.  I have taken the plunge and recorded my first crochet podcast! I've been watching some other crochet podcasts and thought I would give it a go myself. I'd love for you to take a look and let me know what you think - be gentle with me! Hope you enjoy it :)


Podcast Epsiode 1 




Podcast Episode 1 Shownotes

I've enjoyed watching:

Patterns:


I am sending my Ukraine squares to Amanda Bloom



Sunday, 3 April 2022

Spring is here

Happy April! Can you believe we are a quarter of the way through this year already ??!! We've had a real mixed bag of weather here, but a couple of weeks ago when it as really warm and sunny, I had a lovely walk with Mr EC and the dog, starting in the beautiful village of Waltham St Lawrrence. (Mr EC is pulling a silly face as his friends always say he looks miserable in selfies on a walk with me, so he was detremined to prove them wrong! He doesn't normally grin like a maniac, I promise!)

The sun shone, it was lovely and warm, and there was such a gorgeous blue sky.

It was one of those walks that you wouldn't know was there, unless someone told you - luckily I'd done this walk a few weeks before with a friend who knew of it ... her friend had told her .. and so on ...

Anyway we set off down this random path next to some allotments ....


Which gave out onto large open fields ...

Through gates and over stiles - we had to lift the dog over !

Some wonderful dens had been built in the woods ...

Eventually we came to this little archway ...


... which took us through the grounds of St John's church ...

... and opened out onto the sweeping open fields of the Shottesbrooke Park estate ...


 ... the little lake was shimmering in the sun ...



... we kept going until we came out near White Waltham, with its war memorial ...

We turned left at the monument  and followed the road along, which eventually brought us next to White Waltham airfield. Its a working airfield, and we saw some little planes take off but they were too far away to get any photos. Eventually we turned left again at this little church that had been converted into a house - so cute!


Bravely we ventured through the fields of sheep ...


... we even got quite close ...


... but we left them to graze, as we continued on down tree-lined paths ...


... we also met some horses clip-clopping their way through the fields ...


... the path led us back past the Shottesbrooke Tudor mansion ...


... and eventually we came back to St John's church... 


... and the pathway back to the allotments

It was such a beautiful spring morning, just warm enough to not need a coat or jumper, oh how I love it when the weather starts to get warmer. I'm definitely a spring-summer kind of girl, and much as winter can be pretty and cosy, I much prefer the longer days and warmer temperatures.

Since that walk the weather has been so changeable - on Thursday it tried its very best to snow, with a few big flurries throughout the day. All the better, then, to stay in and crochet!

Or knit! My knitted sock is progressing nicely and does actually resemble a sock now. I'm ridiculously proud of it , but am now faced with the task of doing (turning ?) the heel, so I need to psych myself up for that over the next few days.

Yesterday and today I made some red, white and blue bunting for a secret project! I've used Stylecraft Special DK in Matador, White and Midnight, and I have the remainder of the balls to use up so there is much more bunting to come.


My lace scarf is growing nicely. In the photo it looks like I haven't really done very much, but its worked along the full length for each row - about 5 ft long - so each row takes aaages to do. Not helped by the fact that last night I had to rip back 2 entire rows when i found a mistake aarrrghhhh. 

I'm almost onto the second skein of yarn, so I had to get the swift and wool-winder out again to wind it into a lovely squishy cake.


A couple of weeks ago a friend contacted me to ask if I could mend a blanket that her late Mum had knitted, and which was of enormous sentimental value to her. I was a bit worried that mending it would require serious knitting skills but actually it just needed some squares re-joining together in several places. Here's a before and after of the type of thing I mean:




I know the colours in those photos are different but I promise its the same blanket (and the top photo is the truer colour by the way).

And here's a photo of the blanket in all its glory - isn't it fabulous !


Well that's it from me for this time. I'll have lots of lovely yarny things to share with you next week, so until next time,
Jillxxxx

Sunday, 27 March 2022

Mother's Day Projects

Its Mother's Day today and I did actually get a card from one of the children: as they are all lazy teenagers now (I do still love them though) I had rather feared that I would get a grand total of zero cards, but at least one of them remembered! As for my own Mum, I made her this cross-stitched card ...

... which arrived safely in Northern Ireland, and which she loved :) Good daughter brownie-points for me today!

I have lots of yarny projects on the go. But first another small finish: I mentioned previously that I had made a little sheep for a lady's church group; well little sheep now has a little friend ...

I decided to use a different pattern as I couldn't face doing all those amigurumi bobbles again. Speaking of bobbles, I made some bobble squares for the Ukraine blanket project that I'm contributing to. I sat in the garden making them while we had a few days of glorious sunshine last week.

The stack is getting rather high now ...


... 18 high to be precise. I kept going until I ran out of wool ... this is all I had left from 3 full balls ...


... I'm just waiting for my friend, who is also participating, to finish her squares, and then they will all be sent off to Amanda, to be joined into blankets, which will be raffled off in aid of Ukrainian charities.

My adventures in sock knitting continue. If you remember I had tried to use DPNs but had struggled. Lots of you had encouraged me to persevere, but I am not good with persevering lol, so I bought a circular needle called Sock Wonder by Addi and gave that a go. Well, what do you know, I am actually now getting somewhere.


Are you impressed ? I am! I'm not a good knitter so this is a big challenge for me, I'm very slow, and I hate doing purl stitches, so doing the ribbing is annoying me, I just want to get to the part where you just knit knit knit, in the hopes that I'll speed up a bit. But its looking pretty cool if I do say so myself. I thought I had mucked up once or twice but it seems to look okay, so I guess it sorted itself out (pretty sure it wasn't me sorting it out!!). I have a long way to go, and of course this is only the first sock, and I will need two (oh god the thought of casting on again and all that ribbing aaarrrgghhh) but I'm really chuffed with my progress. Due to the annoyance of the ribbing I can only face a round or two at a time but I just pick it up every so often and do a bit. I'll keep you posted with my progress.


I'm still working away at my harbour blanket. I've just started part 6 but I really need to deal with the end of part 5 before I go any further.


I'm a bit like the sock knitting with it - just chipping away one stripe a day. I have about 7 stripes left to do and then the border, which is 5 rounds. Hopefully I'll get it finished in April some time. I need to get it done before its too hot to work on it!


As I am not a monogomous crocheter I have started a new project. Its a pattern simply called "Lace Scarf" which I bought as a download from a Ukrainian etsy shop. I've literally only just started it so there's not much to show you yet. The starting chain was 450 long(!) so its very wide and shallow. The stitch markers are to mark every 50 stitches in case I lost count.


I've completed row 1 which thankfully only required a double-crochet in every 5th chain. Can you imagine crocheting into every chain of 450 ??!! Shudder!!


The yarn is this beautiful hand-dyed yarn from Truly Hooked - I picked it up at a yarn festival a few years ago. Its actually a sock yarn but its very soft so will make a lovely scarf.


The wool-winder put in an appearance to wind it into a little cake of loveliness.



My only other update is that the daffodils are multiplying slowly but surely. A bit like the socks they are super-fiddly so I can only face one at a time, but I figure if I just do one every day or two then the pile will grow steadily. They are destined for my friend Helen's farm shop in Wales, and the deadline is 12th April, as her parents will be travelling up to see her, so they can take a package of little daffodil key-rings with them.


Well that's it from me, hope you all have a great week,
Til next time, 
Jillxxx