A birthday blankie for Bernard with some bobbled corners…..

bobble pom poms

Over the past six weeks I’ve been taking part in Hanna’s #lentenwipdown…… something I find I do time and time and time again is to start something new when I already have a pile of half finished (or sometimes just barely started) projects that really deserve my attention a whole lot more….I don’t know why I do it, it’s not like I don’t love those half made pieces but I think it’s more a case of just wanting to try everything…..we don’t have a very large house although I’m lucky enough to have a room for all my sewing and fabric and yarn hoarding, but I’d much rather this room was free of all the half mades and just starteds, so the “wip-down” has been a good boot up the bottom to get me tackling some of those very slow wip’s…..

more nine square patches

After going through various half made items to assess how much really needed doing to each one before it was finished I decided to tackle this crochet blanket….and a couple of reasons were behind my thinking…..since using tapestry yarn for my crochet blankets I’ve tended to avoid using acrylic yarn, I don’t like the way it squeaks, it makes me feel all “stat-icky” with electricity (my hair always gets a bit bird nesty when I’ve been using it), and I’ve found it makes my hands ache more than when I crochet with wool yarn….in a corner of my work room I had a couple of big bags of brightly coloured acrylic yarn and a lady on the bus had told me that her grand-daughter used this to make blankets for various charities, so I thought if I finished joining in the little squares for the blanket then I could not only have a finished wip I’d also be able to get rid of those bags of yarn that I wasn’t really planning to use again…..

crocheting-along

Joining in the little squares actually didn’t seem to take that long to do at all, I love chosing the random colours and like to mix up rather odd colour combinations, it’s always been the main appeal of crochet for me, using up small pieces of brightly hued yarn to create multiple coloured squares……

Actually I’m trying to remember exactly when I started this blanket, orignally I made my two youngest nieces a couple of crochet blankets when baby Eliza was born (she was 4 in November so that’s a few years ago now) and I had lots of squares left over, I then used some of those to make a lap blanket for my friend Joyce and as is my way, made even more little squares for fear of not having enough so again I had some left over…….they ended up being shoved into the back of a cupboard where they were forgotten about……when I found them again at the start of 2015 I decided to rip out the third and fourth rounds, and join them together on the third round.  (The fourth round had been white and I’d wanted a more intense spread of colour rather than pops of colour in a sea of white)…..

making a new blanket

I stuck with it for a good while but somewhere along the way I got bored again and bundled it all back into the cupboard…..

layingtwo strips together

When I was making the blanket I’d found it easier to concentrate on crocheting lots of little squares then joining them into nines (rows of 3 x 3) and then joining those nines together (in rows of 7 by 7)…by the time I’d gotten bored there were a whole lot of big 7 x 7 square pieces which doubled up as small window blankets for Bernard to sprawl out on (he loves laying in the window and prefers to have something underneath him…for a cat that was originally found in a dustbin* he is very high maintenance)

sewing in the last dozen or so tails

But it’s always sewing in those yarny tails that are my downfall…..good intentions to sew them in as I go seem to fall by the wayside very rapidly, and while I know there is a technique where you crochet them in as you go, whenever I’ve tried to do that I ended up with fat old lumpy sides….

upside down

Anyway, a certain furry someone is always interested when a crochet blanket is being made, put it down for 5 minutes to go make a pot of tea and you’ll find it “just being kept warm” on your return…..

Because he loves blankets we decided that this would be a birthday present for him as he clambered up onto it every evening, and mewed if it was elsewhere, even needing to be carried upstairs on a royal cushion of crochet blanket come bedtime…(yes, he is one very spoilt cat).

rainbow tails

I really tried to keep on top of yarny tails while I was joining in the squares and as a nice incentive and way to keep track of tail sewing in progress I began saving all the tails in a bowl we normally have filled with Quality street at Christmas…and slowly the tails began to pile up……

I love seeing this mix of colours, combinations of colours that might seem a bit Hmmm in fact look great together, a bit bright and circussy perhaps, but this jumble of colour never fails to make me smile…..

crocheting over where two squares join

And finally…the day came when the last yarny tail was all sewn in…the blanket while an okay size wasn’t over huge or anything so I decided to add a few rows of single colour border, first white then pink and then red…….

I probably would have left it at that but then remembered the wonderful blanket I’d seen in the window of Norfolk Yarn the other week….. so I decided to make some of my own fat and squidgy pompom like baubles…..I didn’t make them as dangly as I thought they wouldn’t last 5 minutes if himself was feeling mischievous, so attached them right up to the edge of the blanket…and filled them with some red fleece I’d bought ages and ages ago….

I’m sure if you have a cat you know what happened next….he’s chosen to pretty much ignore it…that’s been a few hard whacks with a paw of the baubles but for the most part he’s walked past it, nose in the air……no doubt when the fuss of a new blanket has died down we’ll find him all curled up asleep on it……

If you want to make your own baubles this is how I made mine….

pom pom bobble detail

Baubles for a blanket (UK terminology)

dk weight yarn, 3.75 mm hook (I like my crochet quite tight)

Round 1….Make a magic loop and then work 6 double crochet stitches into it, you’ll end up with 6 stitches, carefully pull your magic loop closed and finish the row off with a slip stitch…

Round 2….Work 2 double crochet stitches into each of the previous stitches, finish with a slip stitch, you’ll have 12 stitches….

Round 3….Work 2 double crochet stitches into the next stitch, 1 double crochet stitch into the next one….repeat this pattern all the way around, so you have 18 stitches, finish with a slip stitch.

Round 4….Work a double crochet stitch into each of the previous stitches, you’ll still have 18 stitches…finish with a slip stitch.

Rounds 5 and 6….Repeat as for round 4.

Round 7….Work a double crochet decrease, then make 1 double crochet stitch, repeat around 6 times, finish with a slip stitch, this will reduce your stitch count down to 12.

At this point stuff the bauble firmly, try to use the same colour stuffing as the yarn you’ve used….

Round 8….Work a double crochet stitch decrease all the way around so you end with 6 stitches, finish with a slip stitch.

Fasten off leaving a long enough tail to attach the bauble to your blanket corner.

 

It feels really nice to have at least one less work in progress in the cupboard of doom, and the last few weeks while finishing this has made me think about other pieces in limbo that have been shoved away, what do I really want to finish, what can be charity shopped etc and what can be worked on next……..

*Bernard was a stray cat that was found eating food from a big catering bin at the back of a row of takeaway shops…he wasn’t skinny but his diet wasn’t really very good….nor did he have shawls that have taken me weeks to knit to sleep on…..

 

A cosy spot, knitting socks for Ivo, sheep spotting at The Forum and baking bread…..

a quiet spot

Goodness, and where has the time gone…..it really doesn’t seem like 5 minutes ago I was thinking about what we were going to eat over the Winter holidays and now all of a sudden the front room windows are open, the apple trees in the garden are in blossom and I can hear fat bees buzzing about for pollen filled flowers to tumble around in….and if you’re wondering about Bernard, well he’s taken refuge today behind the sofa, while he seems to get on for the most part with the little cat from next door, he also knows when he’s had enough of her playful ways and then it’s tappety tap tap at the cat flap (yes, he can let himself in but he likes us to open the door to him…and now said little cat from next door does it too, not that we let her in but we often hear a tap tap noise only to see her face through the cat glass…)

So I hope you’ve put the kettle on and have a cup of tea as this is quite a bit of a catch up and round down of what I’ve been up to of late, and you know by now how I do go on…..I know my blog posts have been a bit sparse these past months and I’ve had a couple of worried emails asking if I had stopped writing it, so many thank yous for those..we’re all okay but I just needed a little time to me….so come on in,  sit down….the cushions have just been plumped, and I know there are some tunnock biscuits in the cupboard……

As a lot of you will know I finally got round to gettitng a new phone, one with a camera and so I’ve been able to share pictures over on Instagram, and back in February there was a daily photo challenge called “yarn love challenge”…and while it was centered more on knitting and crochet it really made me think a whole lot about my other crafting and making…from sewing and patchwork to cooking in the evening and baking bread….one of the prompts was “where I craft” and while for the most part I do all my sewing, embroidery, patchwork (anything where pins and needles might drop and lurk, waiting for the boyfriend to come home and stand on them) upstairs in my work room, I love tucking myself into this corner to do my knitting……there’s a little coffee table just out of shot where I can have a pot of tea, and most days Bernard jumps up alongside me, sprawls all out, has a wash then a little nap…..it’s a nice cosy spot nd it just feels good to have squishy hand made cushions all around me……(you’ll probably recognize these cushions from when I wrote about making them the other Summer)….the side lamp was a charity shop buy, it had a very boring wicker shade on it but I cut that all off and covered the wire frame with vintage Sanderson prints…..and on the wall are some of my tapestry pictures which have been picked up from all over……..

finished socks for Ivo

Quite a lot of my time this year has been spent trying to catch up with Christmas/ birthday presents (I know, I’m terrible but I just ran out of time in December)… I always forget how long a handmade gift takes to make, it’s never the cheap or fast option is it, and I probbaly take longer making things as a gift than I would if it was someting for me, I want it to look just right, be as perfect as I can get it….anyway, a whole lot of gift knitting went on because we got to see some friends who live in Norway, this was the first time we’ve seen them in just over 3 years so it was really exciting, we all met up in Cambridge and had a really lovely day out there (I definitely want to try and pop back for the day at some point this year)…sadly one of their children had to stay with granny for the day as she’d come down with chickenpox (the little girl, not granny) and I haven’t had it so ….. but we sent back lots of hugs and kisses for her…..one of the gifts I made was this little pair of socks for “baby” Ivo….he’s not a baby anymore and is actually 3 in about a weeks time….the yarn was some that I bought from Meadowyarn which is a really nice on-line shop which is based very close to the village where I grew up, so buying from them most certainly feels like I’m shopping local (for Christmas my boyfriend’s family bought me a beautiful swift to wind yarn on that was made by Mister Meadowyarn so that always feels very special to use)…the yarn for the socks was quite plump, it’s almost an Aran weight so these are lovely and squishy, a bounce with every step…..I used this pattern (it’s a free one) and my making notes are just here in case you are interested……it’s a very easy to follow pattern, and has a nice range of sock sizes from baby all the way through to 8 years old….

knit pro needles from meadowyarn

Along with the socks for Ivo I knitted his mum a big shawl (I used the Open Sky shawl pattern by Andrea Mowry as this was the shawl pattern that made me fall in love with knitting) the notes for Goska’s shawl are all here…and for the two girls I knitted each of them cowls which I pretty much designed myself….that sounds way more fancy than what I actually did….this was the cowl for Saski with the notes here..and this is the one for Hanja…..and the notes are here...

The yarn was Hjertegarn Lima and it’s a Danish all wool yarn, I wanted to use the same yarn for all the projects and then with what is left over I thought I would knit something for myself and then whenever I wear it they’d be in my thoughts in an instant……

There’s also been some other knitting going on for friends and family who live much closer but I’ll share that for another day…..

end-of-january-loaf

I’ve also been baking lots of bread again, our stove has been playing up for a long time and we’re just waiting to buy a new one, in the meantime we have a smaller one which isn’t really as good but with a bit of experimenting with dough and cooking times I feel reasonably happy with the loaves I’m able to bake in it…..mostly it’s just a very simple loaf made with a natural starter/leaven….and then a dribble of honey, good bread flour from Shipton Mill, some oats, sesame seeds, oil and salt……it’s best to take your time making it, not rushing the proving times, but there’s lots you can be getting on with while the bread is resting under a floury cloth…..

crocheting-along

I’ve also taken part in “Lentenwipdown” which Hanna from Patch Aesthetic writes about here …basically it’s all about finishing off those wips (works in progress) that are laying around, or are lurking in the back of cupboards before you start any new projects….gift knitting or making is still allowed though….I like not doing things for Lent even though I’m not Christian, it makes me really appreciate it when I start doing them again….and while I seem to have spent most of the “wipdown” gift knitting, I have managed to finish one of my crochet blankets which really does deserve it’s own blog post……I actuallly finished it last Sunday and was so pleased…..being made of acrylic the colour combinations are certainly on the gaudy side, and it’s already been plucked half to death by Bernard (I find acrylic yarn is a devil at plucking, whereas wool yarns seem able to resist his attentions much better)…

whiteface woodland

Other fun and exciting things, The Forum in Norwich was once again home to Maker’s Month in February, and one of the highlights for me was seeing these beautiful Whitefaced Woodland sheep…….it’s actually a breed I’d not heard of before and is on the “vulnerable” listing by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust , oh but aren’t they sweet…..Their colouring was lovely, a really creamy white fleece, with beautiful milky faces and legs with the pinkiest of rose petal noses…..Their horns are quite small and were the prettiest fawn colour….if you’re at all interested in their yarn then I believe you can buy it from www.blackbat.com…after seeing them it’s certainly made me want to knit with some.

The other really fun thing for me during Maker’s Month was getting to do an afternoon workshop with Jen Monahan (she’s Fibreworkshop on instagram and she also has a very interesting blog and sells beautiful hand spun yarn and fibre in her etsy shop)….I met Jen last year at the Maker’s Month, the fibre she’d spun was breathtaking and she kindly showed me how to use a drop spindle…so I felt I really needed a refresher and booked in for a workshop this year, and have come away feeling much more confident with my spindle using…..this has actually set some “wheels” in motion…more of which another time……if you get the chance I wholeheartedly recommend her classes, she’s very patient and is very good at demonstrating what it is you need your hands to do……

Phew…I think after all that we both need another cup of tea, now who’s going to put the kettle on…..

 

 

 

 

Quiet moments while the morning wakes……

crocheting shadows

Quiet moments outside while the morning is just starting to wake is one of my favourite times of the day.  Generally I’m up and out of bed by six, even at a weekend*, I head downstairs and put the kettle on to make tea then I sit for a while on the back door step or get out a small table and chair that we keep in the garage, and make myself comfy and hoof up a rather weighty never ending project onto my lap…..I’m slowly getting round to sewing in the many hundreds of woolly tails on the back of my grannies crochet blanket, it’s pretty heavy and by mid morning is too warm to have on my knees…..I especially love how it looks in the morning sunlight, the colours in the tapestry wool seem alive and really glow.

the blanket inspector

And even though it’s early I still have a little assistant who’ll  wander over to help me….

No-one else is up, though often I can hear my neighbours starting to stir, one chap potters around his garden and the sound of him filling water-cans from a water butt is a regular early morning sound, sometimes I hear a coax of lip squeeks and a rattle of cat food as kitties are called in for breakfast….mostly it’s windows opening, and a waking up cough……it’s too early for any traffic, so I can often hear a distant rumble from one of the trains leaving the railway station, one of my friends has to leave Norwich early to work in Cambridge and I often think of her being on one of the trains I can hear….the railway line runs across the common and marshes just down the road, it’s not a noise to disturb, just a low soft rolling sound.

Then there are the birds, blackbirds seem to have the most to say though the magpies make more noise, raspy chuck chuck chuck’s sound down from the sycamore tree behind our garden and then one, two or more magpies swoop out of the branches and fly off over the roof tops….sometimes there’s as many as 8 or 9 and how anyone can sleep through the racket they make is quite beyond me.

Often there’s a loud series of shuffles from our laurel tree, sounding exactly like someone struggling with a particularly stubborn umbrella, this is followed by a long lulling almost cuckoo coo coo coo and I know the wood pigeons are awake too.

tumbling and bumbling on meadowsweet

There’s always the soft droning buzz of bees to be heard at any time of the day, we’re really lucky and have so many bees visit our garden, white bottomed, orange bottomed, small, skinny and some so fat I fair  wonder how they can even fly, all tumble around and roll deep in the flowers, until they emerge all dusty and pollen drenched.

Bernard amongst the strawberries

The garden is full of soft shadows, raspberries scent the air and there is almost a haze around the rosemary bush, it catches the first sun of the morning and perfumes the air on our patio for the rest of the day.  we’ve let the garden get a bit wild this year and a bindweed has appeared in the middle of the raspberries and rosemary, and yes, I know I need to remove it but it has the prettiest trumpetty milky white blossoms which the hover flies seem to love, each bloom resonates with their low buzz.  (Bernard has made yet another den under the raspberries, it’s a bit cooler here and he’s very well hidden from my grabby “who wants a cuddle” hands).

comma butterfly As the morning becomes day and the sun comes out it’s the buddleja that will scent the garden, there’s nearly always butterflies on it especially after lunch when they seem to bask in the sunshine, wings slowly opening wide to show off dusty velvet delights.  I never fail to be amazed at their long spiraled tongues, drinking, sipping up nectar before flitting off to the next flowering burst of purple.  Mostly we get comma butterflies, red admirals, tortoiseshells and peacocks, from time to time I see orange tips and smudges of blue flitting amongst the undergrowth and shadow…..

paperweight crochet colour planning 008

My work room is East facing so those soft morning shadows that dance over the garden also flood my work space, they flit and flicker across different craft projects, and if I start the day in there then I’m more like to sit in a semi daze, not really working just taking stock of chores to be done, scribbling or daubing with paint ideas and sketches for futute makes.

morning shadows

I pinned up a piece of patchwork I was working on to soften the light in my work room a bit, crochet garlands which are strewn across the window cast their shadows, they appear in different shapes and sizes like something from a lantern show and gently rock back and fro in any most welcome breeze…….my poor old neglected patchwork…too much knitting and not enough sewing means another year is going to go past without this being quilted, but on a morning when the sun seems a bit too scorchy, and I need some shade then I’m more than a little thankful that I’m a slow quilter and have half forgotten about this work in progress………

*I’m also annoyingly chipper and sing little good mornings to Bernard much to his general disgust that I’m dawdling at getting him fed!)

 

Combining colours and when opposites attract….

selection of coloured grannies

Some time ago now, I wrote a post about how I go about choosing colours when I’m making quilts, crochets and embroideries…I always find it easier to go back to basics, and to think about the primary and secondary colours before giving any thought to how and why some combinations work and how others are a bit hmmppphh rather than “wow”.

colour wheel

Often before I start a project I make a colour wheel from all the  pieces of fabric using bits from the nearest scrap bag to hand…..with a couple of extra colours to the red,orange,yellow, green,blue,violet/purple…and that’s teal (bluey green) and pink…you wouldn’t normally get either one on a colour wheel as they’re tints  (pink being made by adding white to red, teal being created by adding white to bluey green) but pink is a tint/colour I find that I use a lot and personally think it combines well with most other colours.  I also like teal a lot as well.

green bow tie print star block

(Pink and yellow is a pairing I find myself using time and time again, but I also like pink with green for my patchworking, embroidery and even my wardrobe)…

mosaic 2

Thinking about it I like pink with just about every colour, about the only pink pairing I don’t like is with purple…..though orange can be a bit hmmm but it depends on the colour pink I use…..

contrary wife and others 011

I found by having a bit of a play emptying out a scrap bag or getting out a big selection of fat quarters* and making a colour wheel on the carpet, helps you to understand why certain combinations can look so good…it also helps you think about putting other colours together that you might not first think about.

variable star

I also like working with shades of the same colour,  especially where there’s lots of pattern in the fabric to compliment….the above block uses 3 different red prints….one is a bright lipstick red, one is a pinky red and one has red and pink together with highlights of blue…..while the pinks and reds used are different, they’re equal enough in tone to be pleasing to the eye…(if you took a black and white photocopy then the pinks would be one grey and the reds another)

garden square

Another example of using shades of the same colour is this little block….4 different fabrics are used, 3 which are blue based (one dark and two mid tones) then the other fabric which although has blue and pink in it is a “white” colourway of the print…..all the fabrics used are prints rather than solid colours as I prefer to work with those and often pick up tiny dabs of colours from one print and then work to match that with a contrasting fabric.

tulip print star

Analogous colours are when you pick colours that sit next next to each other on a colour wheel (such as red and orange, blue and green, blue and purple)…. There’s no jarring when you use them together, and they’re generally pleasing to the eye.

I tend to pick one stronger colour to be the main focus and then another to compliment it….the yellow print above is quite an intense colour, there are flecks of it in the floral print but the orange tulips are what the eye wants to focus on first.

gnarly tree bark and bluebells

You often find analogous colours together in nature which may be why they seem more restful to the eyes than colours that bounce off each other….(yellow and green daffodils or primroses…blue and green bluebell woods or forget me nots….)…when a blue and green look this stuning in real life then you know that when you pick these colours for embroidering or knitting or patchwork (or even a wardrobe choice) then that will look equally beautiful.

knitsonik book

I’ve mentioned the Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook several times before on my blog and it’s such an excelllent reference book for understanding colour choices, looking at depth of colour, lights and dark, creating movement that is needed for knitting (but which I find essential for patchwork too)…..and while I’ve yet to create any stranded knitting yet of my own (also known as Fairisle knitting) I’ve found it an incredibly helpful book to read regarding how I pick and chose colours for my patchworks….as an inspirational starting point it’s so good….it’s not a random book of pretty pictures (though many are really beautiful) Felix can see the beauty in patches of tarmac on the road or in Victorian brickwork, everyday things that often are overlooked……it’s the enthusiasm and encouragment that are found within the pages along with the colour theory and thoughtfulness about colour choices that help make this such a great book.

love in a mist

I know from past experinces that if I’m making ice-creams or am out picking blackberries and scarlet coloured haws, the colours I see in my kitchen or in the hedgerows (which then stain my fingers) soon crop up in my fabric choices…

corn beans and triplets 008

Sometimes my colour choices are suble, gentle tones that blend into one another… “the quilt police” would no doubt frown upon these as there’s not enough contrast, all light and no shade but I love that sun faded look these soft prints give…(generally speaking for a succesful patchwork, one where there’s a good overall balance, you do need plenty of contrast but time and time again I find myself favouring those lights…..and I’m never a great stickler to rules)

quarterfoils

Other times the contrast is there both in tone and pattern…a mix of delicate floral print combined with bold brighter hues…..

springtime inspired 002

I’ve not yet tried this with my knitting but I’ve enjoyed experimenting and playing with colour with my crochet…..I like using combining subtle shifts in colour and tone…..

crochet colourwork 005

…with swift changes that flitter back and forth…..

oooh my aching eyes....

Some combinations aren’t always so succesful but they only take seconds to rip out and start again…

A little exercise I find quite useful to do is to paint up a series of the same block (something simple like a churn dash or star), trying out one colour (or tint) with all the others……pink with red, green, blue, grey, orange and so on….different blues with purple,green,yellow,grey…..some you’ll love, some you’ll hate but I’m sure you’ll see some that you hadn’t thought would look all that but which are a very pleasant surprise….

*you could of course use wool, embroidery threads, tapestry wool but you might want to put a clean sheet down first as those tend to pick up carpet fluff a lot more than fabric.

An alpaca and silk “unicorn”with some spring hued pips….

woolly pips of colour

As promised, here are some pictures of the “unicorn” moonraker shawl…I’d actually finished knitting this a couple of weeks ago but we were waiting for some nice weather to go out with the camera…on the whole I’m pretty happy with it, it’s nice and drapey and feels light not too heavy, just the thing for spring really when the temperature can soon cool in the evening.

I used some yarn that I’d bought in the Autumn from my local yarn shop (I loved the colour, a proper egg shell blue) but I don’t think it was such a good choice for this shape of shawl…..I’m not sure if it’s my knitting but both of the Moonraker shawls I’ve had to block quite heavily, and where as the wool yarn shawl was quite happy to put up with a bit of rough treatment and has held it’s post blocking shape perfectly, the alpaca/silk blend seemed a bit more fretful.  I used about a million blocking pins (well 3 packets) and it all looked fine pinned onto the mats, but as soon as the pins were removed the yarn sprung back into itself and left some stretch marks behind.

alpaca and silk moonraker shawl

The bottom edge in this picture shows what I mean…that little up and down pointy edge, it’s not a picot bind off, it’s meant to be a straight line.  It’s not the end of the world I know, but at the same time I know it’s not right and it’s distracting me when I see it…I’m wondering whether I could soak the shawl again and re-block it, and this time thread through some heavy silk thread (used like blocking wires) along the edge and see if that would do the trick….but apart from a wonky rippled edge, that’s my one grumble.

The yarn is very soft and the shawl just falls back off my shoulders, it’s as flopsy as my legs after I’ve had more than a glass of wine.  The row of red and pink “pips” are my favourite…I love how those colours sit so happily together, and when I’ve used up some of the yarn that seems to have bred in my work room, I’d like to try something in those lipstick and face powder shades once I’ve redued my stash some.  (I’ve not been knitting for that long but somehow I seem to have accumulated half a yarn shops worth of brightly hued balls and skeins).

Looking at these two top pictures I did sit a bit open mouthed at how much I look like my younger sister Rachel…where as I’m all dark brown hair (with kempy grey wisps) she’s a fawny blonde with a real peaches and cream complexion but our face shapes are the same, there’s a shared jaw line and mouth…even those straight eyebrows ….we’ve inherited all those from my dad’s mum’s mum…..

unicorn moonraker

Mostly I’ve been influenced in my colour choices for the “pips” by what’s been growing along the verges and in the hedgerows, powdery primrose and pollen yellows, apple blossom soft pinks, new leaf greens….bright red tulips…and then there’s those two  purple rows…in my head they worked really well but after I’d knitted those rows up I had some mis-givings but didn’t listen to my heart and carried on regardless.  I found the aplaca/silk yarn very slippy to catch stitches when I was ripping out and correcting mistakes…the thought of then re-knitting it wasn’t thrilling me so ….I have two purple rows…when the shawl is worn scrunched you don’t notice them so much.

adjusting the shawl not fighting off a bee attack

 

In case you think I’m shooing away a bee or a wasp…I’m just re-adjusting the shawl but this picture made me laugh so I thought you’d like it too…..

The Moonraker pattern is really easy to follow (and take it from me, if I thought it was hard I’d let you know) I’d certainly recommend it, if you can knit a knit stitch then you can knit a Moonraker.  It’s very soothing to knit as for the most part it’s all worked in garter stitch so I was able to switch off a lot and just relax into the yarn and needles.  And while I did like the yarn, I’ve got a skein and a bit left so will need to use that up for something or other…. I also know I preferred the feel of when I was using sheepy scented yarn, I missed that rustle as the yarn wrapped around my needles and the scent of those natural un-dyed wools.

The shawl was knitted as part of the unkal/kal over at The Caithness Craft Collective Podcast’s Ravelry group….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So it was meant to fit a tea pot……

asleep in Autumn sunshine

I think I’ve already mentioned a brilliant kal over on the Caithness Craft Collective Podcast Ravelry page…it’s split up into 3 divisions and you can take part in as many of those as you like….I’m already knitting a blue shawl using a very soft yarn from Artesano (it’s a more colourful version of my Natural shades Moonraker) for division two, and I’ve nominated my “grannies paperweight” blanket for division one where basically you just leave your ufo until the 1st of June…then if you want you can pick up your needles and try get it finished by 1st September….now I love my grannies paperweight blanket (and obviously so does someone else!) but sewing all the woolly tails in has been a proper drag…..the blanket isn’t even hid away, it’s on our bed so every night I’m aware of all those ends and sigh……having it be okay to just leave them until June the 1st is actually quite nice and it’s now quite hard to leave them and not starting sewing them in….

tea cosy front with 14 inch needles

But the blanket isn’t the only ufo/wip that has been a bit forgotten about….there’s also my teacosy….

I probably first ever learn to knit at primary school, I was always bottom of the class and my dishclothes would end up full of holes and be rather wonky shaped… in the years since I’ve had a few rather half hearted attempts at re-learning adn have been very goldfish brained, struggling to remember how to make simple stitches and just getting all frustrated…. I had another dabble about 5 years ago which is when I met my awesome friend Anne, she’s a wonderful knitter and has no end of patience….when I first went to her house I saw her tea cosy which was just the nicest little tea cosy cottage I think I’ve ever seen and she let me borrow the pattern and have a try at knitting my own…..

moss stitch box stitch and stocking stitch

I think I did everything wrong that I possibly could…first up the yarn….the pattern said 4 ply…I didn’t have any and all I could find in the charity shops was a larger weight so I bought that (a big old bag full of mixed creamy pure wool, mostly Aran but also some dk)…obviously I needed to use a larger needle than in the pattern and ended up knitting it on these 14 inchers (not the most sociable knitting to do on the bus…I was all elbows and knitting needles)….I felt quite pleased as I sort of mastered purl stitch but I had to count my stitches all the time as I found it really hard to tell if it was a purl or a knit on my needle…..I didn’t know about circular needles so my knitting was nearly always squished up while I was counting….

house cosy back with 14 inch needles

And then no matter how hard I tried, I kept making mistakes which I couldn’t correct, so lots of ripping out….finally between us we twigged that there was a mistake somewhere in the pattern so Ann kindly fixed one of the sections for me…..

At some point the Aran run out and I doubled up my dk…..so this is totally not the most consistently gauged item that’s been on a pair of knitting needles.

Knitting the side sections was a bit easier as I could do those on a pair of 12 inch needles, around this time I began calling it a cushion cover as when I’d told people it was a tea cosy they all burst out laughing and made comments about “like to see the size of that tea pot”…..looking back I sort of wonder what i was thinking…I really didn’t realize using Aran instead of 4ply and knitting it on 6mm needles was going to make a huge difference.

house cosy sides

I was sort of losing heart with it at this point but attempting the roof was the straw that broke this camels back….the original one in the pattern says it’s knitted in a dk so I cobbled together as much brown yarn as I could to make mine fat enough, then it’s ribbed and there are decreases or increases  (in pattern) and it just all got too much………finally it was all bundled up and pushed into a dark corner of my wardrobe…honestly it put me right off knitting for ages…apart from the odd dishcloth and coat-hanger.  I decided I was not a knitter……..

I’m so happy my knitting journey didn’t end there, falling in love with the “Open Sky” shawl helped so much, reading great knitty blogs and listening to podcasts has slowly helped me gain my knitting confidence and have been wonderful sources of inspiration and creativity…anyway, I found the tea cosy parts and think they deserve a second chance….not sure what I’m going to do regarding the roof but I’ve got a couple of months where I can practice my ribbing or try out something different.

Louise talks about this kal/unkal in the latest episode of her podcast which is number 147, when she says “leave it” it’s so funny….it made me laugh so much that it scared poor Bernard who jumped off my lap, trailing my knitting and yarn across the room with him, which put paid to my laughing pretty quickly…..

Even if you don’t want to join in the kal/unkal, then I’d still recommend listening to the Caithness Craft Collective podcasts, they’re very funny and Louise talks about all sorts of crafting, not just knitting and there is even whiskey tasting in some episodes.

(if you want an idea of size for my tea cosy, those sides just need buttons and I’d have the start of a cardigan or at least a risque Summer top for the beach.)

My grannies paperweight crochet scarf……

tapestry wool grannies paperweight scarf

After what seems like an extraordinary amount of time, my grannies paperweight crochet scarf is now all fit for modelling in the Autumn sunshine….

A few years ago I fell in love with the Grannies Paperweight crochet pattern (otherwise known as the African Flower pattern) after seeing a beautiful blanket on Flickr by Andamento, and after I tried it out using acryllic yarn (and not particularly caring for the results), I then thought it would be the perfect project to make using tapestry wool as that seems to come in a million and one different colours, certainly a wider range than most wool companies produce.

crocheted hexagons for the grannies paperweight blanket

I was very happy with the results, wonderful combinations of colours that took me by surprise blended together perfectly, and making hexagons that varied often only a little in rich and gentle hues and tones of one colour made the crochet pulsate and look like a jewel box when it was being spread out on the carpet while it slowly grew bigger.

While I was still making the blanket I began to think of other ways I could use this pattern and because as soon as the joined hexagons became large enough, I was finding myself wrapping them around my shoulders,  a shawl seemed the perfect candidate.  However, as cosy as that is, I love being able to fling something around myself in a more dramatic and affected way (think Miss Piggy having a full blown diva moment) and so I began work on a scarf.

a vintage palette

While I’ve been crocheting the tapestry wool I’m aware that the wool varies in thickness somewhat from brand to brand, and that I use particular brands differently..

Certain vintage brands like Penelope or Beehive are slightly fuzzy and I think these work best either for round three or for joining the hexagons together. Vintage anchor wool from old needlepoint kits is also very good for joining the hexagons together.

More modern Anchor, DMC and Rowan wools are plumper and seem to work better for the other rounds.

If you live in America then you should be able to source “Elsa Williams” needlepoint yarn (I was lucky to buy some a few years ago via Ebay)…this is a really nice wool, perfect to use for all the rounds.
Jamieson's wool pile

Although you don’t have to use tapestry wool (indeed, if I had the budget I’d use wool from  Jamieson’s of Shetland or Jamieson and Smith as both their colour ranges are really rather breath-taking) it was a lot more affordable than you’d think.  Most of the wool I’ve used has been sourced from Antique shops/flea markets/ jumble sales/ charity shops/car boots….very little has been purchased new (although I’m a sucker for DMC shade number 7120 and I never find that second hand…it’s a lovely soft barely there pink, the colour of faded rose petals)

crochet colourwork 002

Generally before I start anything I like to have a little play around with colour,  I always up-end a big bag of tapestry wool and have a good old mess about with the different wools, comparing colours and different tones together.

And I’ll often paint out combinations of particular colours I have a fancy to before crocheting….sometimes the colours work, sometimes they don’t but I never see this time spent as wasted.

how to granny paperweight in stages 003

To make a scarf you’ll need to start off by making 4 rounds of a grannies paperweight hexagon.

I found it a bit easier to make a dozen or so little circles for the centre of the hexagon at a time, before making them bigger and working on the other rounds..

a basket of woolly centres

(these are a whole load of little half hexagons that I got a tad carried away with making…..)

When I was first trying to learn how to make a grannies paperweight hexagon, the very best tutorial I found for making them  was on lovely  Heidi Bear’s blog, and her tutorial on making them is exceptional, however she makes her hexagons larger than mine,  I prefer to make them smaller as I think it makes the colour more intense.  She also suggests using a 5mm hook but I find a smaller hook size suits me better.

how to granny paperweight in stages 010

I found I got a nicer result when I used two different hook sizes.  (the smaller hook pokes through those top stitches of round 3 a treat and then helps form a nice dense band of colour when you join the hexagons together.

For the first 3 rounds I use a 4 mm hook and then change to a 3.25mm hook for rounds 4 and 5.

As well as changing hook size I also changed the type of hook…I prefer to use a Clover Soft Touch for the 4mm hook and then I switch to a Brittany wooden hook for the 3.25. (The Brittany hook has a lovely pokey tip and I found it was smoother than the Clover one)

playing with crochet hexagons

After you’ve made a dozen or so hexagons (only up to round 4),  you can begin to lay them out, have a play with which hexagons look best together. This bit is so much fun, it’s  rather like a jigsaw puzzle where, although all the pieces are the same shape, positioning a piece in a particular place either works (making all it’s neighbours sing) or looks a bit pants.

joining together corochet hexagons

Once you’re happy with your arrangement, you can begin to join them together,

Heidi has a lovely easy to follow tutorial on how to join the hexagons just here.

The hexagons are placed together a bit like bricks on top of one another, 1, then 2, then 1 then 2 and so on until the scarf is at the length you require.  Both ends of the scarf will be finished with a single hexagon.

crocheted half hexagons fill in the side gaps

The sides will each have a row of half hexagon gaps along them, these will then be filled with half hexagons.

starting fourth colour

I found it easier to make the half hexagons once the whole ones had been made and joined together as they are crocheted back and forth rather than in a round and it gave me a headache trying to switch back and forth.

I was also able to spread the scarf out and make a note of any particular colours I felt were lacking or that I thought would fit in nicely.

joining in

Joining in the half hexagons is a bit more fiddlesome than joining together the whole ones.  At this point I often stop and make a pot of tea.

grannies paperweight crochet scarf, tails and all

Once all the hexagons have been joined together then it’s time to sew in all those troublesome woolly tails.
While I appreciate that there is a way where you can work your woolly tails in while you crochet (and save yourself the what seems like an endless amount of time sewing in umpteen ends) whenever I try to do it that way my crochet looks all lumpy and mis-shapen….so I’m a woolly tail sewer, but if you can do it the other way, then go ahead as it will save you a fair amount of time.
grannies paperweight scarf
Once all the tails are sewn in then the scarf is almost ready.  (if you want you can wear it like this but I find the half hexagons are often a bit lumpy so crocheting all the way around the scarf makes it look a lot neater.

work along the second edge

I used Jamieson’s of Shetland wool (double knit weight) as it was perfect to use for the edging as it was almost the same weight as the tapestry wool.

I used a Brittany 3.25 hook to crochet the edging.

I use slightly less stitches when I crochet across the edge of the half hexagon as it flattens off any “fat tummies” that may be bulging out from the sides of the scarf. (it’s like “magic tummy knickers” for your crochet.)

Once the edging has been crocheted then I’d really recommend gently washing your scarf in a special wool conditioner (tapestry wool isn’t the softest in the world) and then blocking it out and allowing it to dry thoroughly.

grannies paperweigh scarf

The scarf has two “pointy” ends which I think would look fantastic finished with super fat pom poms (however my boyfriend has very somber tastes and I think pom poms on this scarf would be the very end of enough for him.)

Using a little bit of what seems to be about every colour there is going means this will look just  perfect worn with anything, there’s nothing it won’t look spectacular with.

paperweight flowers and a peek of braids

My hexagons are made up of 5 rounds, each round has 2 ends or tails so 10 per hexagon (even the halfsies which doesn’t really seem fair) so that’s 690 woolly tails to sew in when you’re all finished crocheting.

Regarding how much yarn is used…these are approximate measurements as it varies a little on which brand of wool you’re using (as they differ in thickness)

Whole hexagons

round one…..60 inches

round two…98 inches

round three…155 inches

round four…91 inches

round five  (where you join into two sides*)…169 inches

Half hexagons

round one…43 inches

round two…55 inches

round three….87 inches

round four………53 inches

round five  (joining the half hexagon to three sides)…127 inches

Tapestry wool skeins vary from 9 yards up to 15 yards.  There are 36 inches in a yard.

For my scarf I made 43 whole hexagons and 26 half hexagons using roughly about 948 yards of wool for all the hexagons.  I forgot to measure the wool for the edging but it doesn’t use all that much.  (a ball of dk wool will be plenty)

grannies paperweight scarf using tapestry wool

This has really been Inspired  by memories of buying a little paper bag full of fair rock from the shop down the road when I was small (sadly an old time sweetie that doesn’t seem to have been resurrected), mixed in with those beautiful millefleur paperweights that you often find in antique centres and sumptously embroidered velvet collars on evening coats designed by Paul Poiret, I’ve made this scarf so you can wrap yourself all up in every colour under the sun and then some.

Please understand, this isn’t a weekend make, it’s going to take a while (I started mine in the Spring of 2013 or thereabouts and though I wasn’t working on it all the time it won’t be fastest scarf you ever crochet) but I think it’s worth it.

I’d also like to thank Heidi Bears so much for her tutorials which made sense of how to make this hexagon.

Orange you glad to see me*

crab apples

While the hedgerows are bursting full of fruit (and lovely vitamin C) I’m trying to harvest what I can into jellies and syrups.

In a way I’m almost pleased the blackberries didn’t seem to do so well this year because if not I think I’d have over looked the rosy jeweled bounty that’s even closer to home.  Long hedges of hawthorn all intermingled with wild rose bushes, then small wildings appearing from all the prickles, branches full of apples in what seem to be 101 different varieties.  Although there are a few “true” crab or scrub apple trees near by (Malus pumila …very mean and grouchy looking little apples) I prefer to use these glorious almost oval shaped ones in the picture, all rosy and coral coloured though I’m not sure their full genus.

I’m very lucky in that when I’m foraging I’m completely away from any traffic, it’s all pedestrian areas so when I’m clambering around through a hedge looking somewhat like Catweazle, I often get stopped by dog walkers and people with children asking me what I’m picking, what I’m going to make.  I never mind telling anyone who asks and will happily offer plums and cherries to taste and advise good places to go.  I really love it when children look interested as I have lovely memories of going blackberry picking with my sisters and feel sad if children miss out on that.

Anyway, I seemed to spend most of yesterday chopping and prepping and cooking apples, rosehips (including hips from lovely fat and round apple roses), rowan berries and haws to make the most fantastic and bright amber coloured jellies and syrups, and while I was chopping and listening to the radio I began thinking just how much I like the colour orange.

tree in our neighbours garden

Last years Autumn leaf change was spectaular, persimmon and flame, marigold and tangerine, pumpkin patch orange and deep amber…..each morning’s walk either down to the post box, popping into the shops or just stretching my legs for half an hour or so over the marshes was a real treat….on a morning filled with sunshine, Autumn leaves come ablaze and those lovely bright orangey colours seem to be everywhere you look.

At the time it inspired me somewhat with my wardrobe and made me covet a pair of orange shoes after spotting a pair in a local shop.

orange floral print dress

And while I haven’t bought a pair of orange shoes quite yet (thought I still want a pair to wear with the brightest blue tights so I think it’s only a matter of time) over the past year or so there’s been some orangey additions in my wardrobe, the latest being a “dottie angel” style dress I made in the Summer with fabric from John Lewis (it was in the sale and with the alterations I made to the pattern I only needed a metre and a half so felt very happy).

I like wearing it with either an orange cardigan or a pale blue one as orange and blue has become one of my favourite colour combinations.

more nine square patches

Generally when I’m crocheting it’s never long before little bursts of orange begin to creep in amongst the other colours, though I’m quite fussy about the particular orange I like….the orange in the picture above was on a cone in a charity shop and was about a pound if that, I have to double up the yarn when I use it as it’s a bit skinny, but I don’t like the other acryllic oranges that I’ve seen and find this is bright without making my eyes hurt.

orange tapestry wool

But mostly when I’m crocheting I now prefer to use tapestry wool, although I really only tend to buy it second hand ( a bag here, a bag there from junk shops and charity shops, jumbles and car boots, I’m often spoilt for choice when I tumble all the wool out together on the table…) the wool makes those tangerine and marigold tones somewhat softer, warmer, colours that seem at first a bit on the bright side, blend quite happily.

oh Bernard what big paws you have

Probably the best example of colours working together, blending in and not taking over is my Grannie’s Paerweight blanket (and yes I’m still sewing in the woolly tails on the tail…) bright golds and salmon tones, pumpkins and carrot oranges are all there but seem to mingle in quite nicely amongst warmer browns and fawns.  Along with the orange and browns I’ve also used orange and blue together, and orange and grey, using a few different shades of both to add plenty of depth and interest.There’s even a few fiery orange and vermillion and scarlet hexagons.

I’m not sure if Bernard is a fan of orange himself but once it starts getting chilly, he’s never far away from the blanket.

wool

I bought this wool last year, in part to make a scarf inspired by Autumn leaves, but must confess it was the colour more than anythng else that made the wool choice although the wool is so soft and is one of those ones where it is very hard not to just stand in the shop and keep squidging or rubbbing it against your face….I’m still working out the best pattern for it and although I’ve got 3 skeins am thinking perhaps I will need to buy more.  I like a nice big scarf, one that can be flung around my shoulders so I’m all bundled up nicely (and will happily sit like this on the sofa and not turn the heating on)…but I love this particular colour so much that I feel it’s almost going to be the colour itself I’m all bundled and wrapped in.

new album

Although I haven’t worked very much on the patchwork for my “dear ethel” quilt this year, it’s never very far from my thoughts, odd patches are pinned up on a board above my work table (in part because the little blocks make me smile, and also if they were tucked away until the quilt gets completed I’d be going a long old while without seeing them…and also having them there makes me think I need to crack on and get more sewn )….

When I look back at them I see certain colour combinations turning up again and again, although each block is different and each combination of print is different, certain colours  just make me happy so much more than others and although I think pink and yellow is possibly the most used combination, there are also a lot of pairings with orange.

swamp angel

I know that some of my print and colour choices aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, and if it was an all over quilt then I’d be right there with you, but in a six inch block I think you can get away with what looks like picking things from “the dressing up box”.

I don’t know why but I’m always drawn to orange prints in my local quilt shop or if I’m looking on-line…when I was chosing fabrics for the quilts for Peggy and Pearl in the Spring I really had to rein my love of orange in, knowing that it’s not for eveyone.

selection of mini blocks 005

I love the opportunities for mixing colour in patchwork…small and tiny flecks of colour in one print (the little orange flowers on the floral print) can be picked out and used on a larger scale. This is also how I get dressed in the morning, picking out a colour from a dress print no matter how small to then wear as the accompanying cardigan.

mrs bryan and others 025

The same colour combination of orange and blue but in different fabrics.  I find the use of orange stops some patches looking a bit cold and pale.

hexagons and ethel 002

Orange and brown just makes me think of my tummy…chocolate and orange cake, toffee apples, orange creams, Jaffa Cakes and Terry’s chocolate oranges (which I only seem to see in the shops at Christmas for which my waistline should be thankful)…..

piecing a dresden plate 032

Even when I was making my dresden plate patchwork I couldn’t help myself and there’s barely a “plate” sewn together that didn’t have at least one orange section.  Whenever I up-turn and empty out a scrap box there’s always pieces of orange fabric that seem to be at the front of the queue waiting to be used in whatever patchwork I’m sewing.

beth 003

A few years ago my friend Beth (who is the most incredible artist and who I’ve mentioned before on my blog) made this little doll of me, she sits on one of our bookselves.  At the time Beth made it she said she knew I didn’t have an orange scarf but that was the colour wool she just had to hand….and now I’m thinking…it’s just the same orange as the wool I’m waiting to knit up into a scarf.   There have been days when I’ve left the house and my makeup has looked just like this (my excuse is that I was in a rush).

Now I’m back to the kitchen to bubble up and boil amber coloured juices with sugar for syrups (we’re both a bit sniffly so hope it’s not the start of a cold)…downstairs smells lovely, soft fruity aromas from apples and roses with the faintest spicey hint of star anise and clove.

*possibly the best Knock knock joke becaue it’s so rubbish.

Woolly tails, pots of tea and preparing for the Autumn…..

grannies paperweight scarf

Even though the bank holiday had rather wretched wet and windy weather there was a silver lining as it allowed me to nest down on the sofa with endless pots of very nice tea* and finish sewing in all the remaining woolly tails on the back of my grannies paperweight scarf…

I’m not sure exactly when I started making the scarf, sometime in the Spring of 2013 because I’d been working on the grannies paperweight blanket by then and just loved the pattern so much that I then wanted to be able to wear something using it.

Now it’s all made up it reminds me very much of those beautiful turn of the century coats by Paul Poiret that had sumptuous velvet embroideries down the front, and while recently re-watching The House of Elliot**, noticed Miss Evie wearing a rather nice coat that had a raised collar that was all embroidered in what I think of as “Bloomsbury” colours.

Rather than join the hexagons together into a flower shape or cluster of 7, the hexagons are joined 2 on top and 1 to the side with half hexagons used to fill in the gaps.

When I first tried making the half hexagons I found them really difficult and other people’s patterns I’d seen for them weren’t really what I needed to fit into my blanket, however when I made my shawl I came up with a way that worked best for me so over Christmas I sat down and just made a whole load of them and before I knew it I’d made enough for the tops and bottoms of the blanket (tails of which are still slowly being sewn in….) as well as half hexagons for the scarf and some extras for a pair of cushions (which have yet to be finished, )…

Then once the half hexagons were all joined in it was a case of sewing in the woolly tails on the back (and yes I know there is a way where you join them in as you crochet along but whenever I do it like that then I get a fat lumpy side and the crochet looks proper peculiar, I can only think it’s because I’m doing something wrong as I’ve seen other peoples crochet worked this way and their’s looks fine…) Each hexagon has 10 tails (even the half hexagons) so they soon add up.  It’s probably the part I like the least, it’s boring more than anything else and I can always find something more enjoyable to sew or work on instead.

However, as the weather was so wet, and rather chilly  I thought it best to get this finished so I can be all ready to wrap myself up and keep warm as Autumn’s presence is being felt. (I do feel the cold something rotten and seem to have a 101 scarves, and it’s the ones I made myself that I always get the nicest comments on….it was great getting stopped by a lady who said “is that the dottie angel scarf” and we then spent a few minutes squidging the puffs of my scarf together.

insert hook in the ponty gap

Once all the tails were sewn in, my scarf was pretty much ready to wear though the sides were a tad on the lumpy side…I decided a very simple edging would probably work the best at pulling in the bumpy bits (the crochet version of magic knickers) and also I didn’t want to do anything too fancy as I knew that would just make the scarf too wide (in the past I’ve made scarves that I could barely see over once they were wrapped around me and when my face gets too covered my glasses steam up.) I’ve used Jamieson’s of Shetland double knitting wool before when I was edging the cushion fronts and thought this would be the best wool to use for a simple single crochet edge.

The rest of the scarf was used in tapestry wool and the Jamieson’s wool has a very similar texture and weight to it.  And their colours are lovely.  I’ve used mint as that seemed to look the nicest against the colours used in the main part of the scarf.

The edging was pretty easy to do though I’m explaining it in a fair bit of detail because when I learnt to crochet I really needed every part shown thoroughly or I just didn’t understand what I was supposed to do…..if you can crochet then please bear with me.

(ohh and I’m using Brittany crochet hooks, they are lovely to use and mean I can crochet all day and not get achy hands or fingers)

First up, make a slip knot and slip it over your hook and tighten, then insert your hook into the gap that you’ll see at the corner of the two sides.  The edging is worked under the stitches, (between the bars) rather than through the chains that lay horizontally around the edge.  Make a chain and then make a single crochet stitch. (This is all UK terminology)

work along the edge

Just keep working along the edge making the single crochet stitches through the bars along the side.

work two stitches into the corner gap

When you get to the end of the side, make a single crochet stitch in that little corner gap and then make another one next to it.  (if you want you can make a chain between them but I didn’t.  I think it depends a bit on the weight of the wool you use…try both ways if you like as the edging is easy to un-ravel if you don’t like it.)

work along the second edge

Now just work along the second side, making a single crochet stitch through each “bar” on the side.

work the corner

When you get to the corner there are two different ways you can work the corner….

You can avoid inserting the hook into the gap at the end of the first side, and instead insert it straight into the gap of the second hexagon (this is what I’m doing in the picture above.) Scoop the wool round the hook and pull it through the gap and continue to make a single crochet stitch before working along the rest of the third side.

I crochet quite tightly and found this looked better for me.  However, depending on the wool you use and how you crochet you may prefer this way….

Insert your hook in to the gap on the first hexagon, scoop up the wool around your hook and pull it through the gap, now with that wool still on your hook, insert your hook into the gap in the next hexagon, wrap the wool round the hook and scoop it through.  You’ll now have what look like 3 stitches on your hook, pull them all through the first stitch on your hook and then continue along the rest of the side with the single crochet stitches.

Whichever method you use, make sure you only go through the corner gaps and not between the two hexagons where they join together.

work along the next edge

When you get to the corner you’ll need to make 2 single crochet stitches in the gap, and again, if you want you can make a chain between them.  It’s completely up to you.

work 12 stitches along the edge of the half hexagon

When you work along the edge of a whole hexagon, crochet between the bars exactly like you did for the previous sides. When you crochet along the edge of a half hexagon it’s a little different.

This time you work just under the bottom of the stitch and you want to make about 12 stitches along the half in total so you aren’t working under every stitch.  I know this sounds a bit odd but I found that this helps keep the bumpy bit in line (think of it working like magic knickers for when you’ve had too much cake).

Try not to make a stitch right at the start and end of a half hexagon so the stitches through the gaps of the whole hexagons have enough space.

continue to work all the way around the edge of the scarf

If you click this picture it’ll come up nice and big and you’ll see the start and end stitch through the gaps in the whole hexagons either side, and then you’ll be able to count 12 stitches along the half hexagon between them.

I promise you it’s a lot easier than it sounds.

Then you just continue like that all the way around the edge of the scarf before joining it off and sewing in those 2 last tails.

blocked end section of grannies paperweight scarf

At this point it really is ready to wear and in the past I would have been out and about with this all draped around me, however this Summer I blocked a couple of scarves and couldn’t believe the difference it made (also tapestry wool which I’ve used is a bit scratchy so giving the wool a gentle wash in a special wool conditioner will help the scarf feel nicer as well as looking much better.)

After a little soak in some lukewarm water and wool conditioner I let the water drain before folding the scarf over and over and then pressing out the water, it’s important not to squeeze or wring it as then it’s going to look a bit rum.

I then laid out some towels out along on the floor which I’d folded a few times so they were a nice thickness and then laid out the scarf.

blocked section of grannies paperweight scarf

Working out from the middle I pinned the scarf at all of the points where the hexagons joined together, and using a ruler made sure that the scarf was nice and even all the way along….I didn’t use special blocking pins just cheap ones that I’d been given but which I found were too thick to use for my everyday sewing (though I’m thinking I may need to get some of the proper blocking pins and some mats for future projects).

The hexagons look a bit “soft” and hazy and in part this is because as you know I’m no David Bailey but also this is the reverse.  I laid the scarf out face down as Bernard will keep laying on things that are on the floor and I didn’t then want this covered with cat fluff. (and I knew if I laid any towels over the top then those pins would only be stood on)

I left the scarf for two days like this and then when it was pretty much dry folded it into four before placing it in our airing cupboard so it could completely dry through and we’d get our living room back.

Pictures of the scarf all finished and modelled will be coming along with all the relevant links to post on how I made it.

*this is the nicest tea I’ve ever had and could happily drink it ’til the cows come home.

**(ooh and if you enjoyed The House of Elliot I’d thoroughly recommend Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries…it’s a good series to watch but the costumes totally steal the show.  It’s set in the Twenties and it’s an Australian drama, one episode even has Shane Ramsey from Neighbours in it doing a well dodgy French accent.  It’s about a lady detective called Phryne Fisher who has a habit of getting into mischief while wearing the most incredible looking clothes.  There’s a fair bit of romance and brief liasions with her and what seems like a new dishy fella occur in each episode but that doesn’t stop her from still flirting terribly with the local police inspector.  It’s available as dvds so you should be able to hire it from your local library.  Essie Davies as Miss Fisher is so good and she really suits those lovely period costumes.