From squares to stripes

Last week I finished my sixty million trebles projects with a little yarn-bombing in London to publicise the cause. I printed and laminated tags and attached a heart or flower to each one. London is full of railings, so it didn’t take me too long to find somewhere to hang them in the hope that they would be taken by the curious and that one or two people might get involved.yarnbomb-2I will eventually make some more square blankets for 60MT, but I need a change, so I have returned to some sock-knitting. Last year I subscribed to a sock yarn club, with colours inspired by the Discworld. Somehow, I only got round to knitting up the first ball, so I had five balls of beautiful stripy British sock wool from The Knitting Goddess, just waiting for my needles. I’ve written previously about my disappointment with a previous sock yarn club from which, whilst beautifully dyed, almost none of the wool was hardy enough for socks and I think it was intended for shawls (a bit of mis-selling, sadly). The Knitting Goddess yarn is very different – you choose that base yarn that you want, so it is only the hand-dyed colourway that comes as a surprise when it arrives. The pair of socks that I did knit using this yarn last year are lovely and robust, so I had no hesitation starting another pair. The colourway is called Salamander Flash.

I think I’m going to have the brightest feet in west Wales!

Three Things Thursday: 2 March 2017

*three things that make me smile: an exercise in gratitude – feel free to steal this idea with wild abandon and fill your blog with the happy*

Inspired by Emily of Nerd in the Brain here are my Three Things Thursday, this week all seen during a trip to the Victoria and Albert Museum in London:

First, I’m very grateful that I don’t have to wear a woollen knitted costume when I go swimming. I can’t imagine the drag factor, the sag factor and how long it would take to get one dry! Click on the picture to go to the V&A’s description of this garment.


1937 Knitted Bathing Costume

Second, amazing tiles. There were so many in the museum, both as exhibits and as part of the structure. Below you can see two exhibits that particularly made me smile. The tiled panel is from Iznik, Turkey and was made around 1580 (click here for more details); the huge fireplace is also Turkish and dates from 1731 (click here for more details)

Third, the skill that must have been required to make this quartz crystal ewer. It was made in Egypt around 1000 and was carved out of a single block of rock crystal. I have to say that this particular object left me speechless. Click on the picture for more details.


This carved rock crystal ewer is a thousand years old

So, those are three things making me smile this week – what about you?

ScrapHappy February

This month’s ScrapHappy make is another blanket for Sixty Million Trebles.

All the yarn, except that in the border, was left over from knitting socks. This means that this entire project was worked in scrap 4-ply yarn… so it took a lot of hours and amounts to 19,812 crochet stitches (i.e. “trebles”). I wanted to frame the square nicely, so I used some wool out of my stash that was unwanted.

Originally this yarn was destined for my beekeeper’s quilt, but I got bored with that, so I’m going to convert the completed hexagons into a “beekeepers garden bench cushion” and pretty much all the rest of the scrap yarn collection went into this blanket.

This is the third of my charity blankets for this year.

I’ve been inspired to write this (and future) Scrap Happy posts by Kate, who provides links to other (mostly sewing) Scrap Happy bloggers at Tall Tales from Chiconia on the fifteenth of every month… do check them out.


Scrap Happy January

This year I plan to make at least one item every month out of oddments/scraps. My first of the year was actually started (and blogged about) in 2016, but I finally finished it last night.

All the yarn, except that used to edge the squares and make the border, was from my pile of left-overs. I did buy some New Lanark British wool for the borders because I simply didn’t have enough of any one yarn available and I wanted some consistency, what with the squares (and rectangles) being so random.

I had fun trying out some new patterns and relaxing with some old ones, plus I was able to incorporate a few squares that I had left over from past projects (including two that had been given to me by my friend Ann). The colours were, of course, dictated by what was in my bag and were not always what I would have chosen, but it’s bright and cheerful, not to mention lovely and warm.

This is the first of my charity blankets for this year and it’s going to Knit for Peace, who will find it a good home . It’s completely the wrong dimensions for Sixty Million Trebles , so a blanket for them will be my next scrappy charity project, which actually I’ve already started:


just beginning

I’ve been inspired to write this (and future) Scrap Happy posts by Kate, who provides links to other (mostly sewing) Scrap Happy bloggers at Tall Tales from Chiconia on the fifteenth of every month… do check them out.



Sometimes it’s good to play. So, after making some very specific items for particular reasons and to deadlines, I thought that I’d spend some time just playing with my crochet hook. I have piles and piles of yarn oddments to use up, so I’ve been trying out some new patterns and some old favourites:

They are various sizes and I plan to put them (and more) together quite randomly into a large blanket that I will donate to Knit for Peace, who can always find a good home for woolly items.

All the above are made of wool or acrylic, but I also have a bag of cotton yarn oddments. Because cotton isn’t stretchy, it doesn’t really belong in my planned blanket, so I thought I would have a go at a completely different type of square, with a view to putting lots of these together into a fancy shawl or throw. It’s not my best work, but this is what I made:


cotton square

The design is from the book Connect the Shapes. I’m rather fond of this book, particularly because it’s spiral bound, so it stays open whilst you are working from it! In addition it includes both charts and written instructions, making complex patterns easier to follow.

Now I have another specific task to get on with, but the playing has been fun…

Not just grannies

I spent yesterday teaching a lovely group of ladies how to crochet – a day of hooks, granny squares, tea and cake. My own blanket for Sixty Million Trebles grew a bit during the day and I started several more small squares, which will all eventually become a second blanket for SMT.

The day was a delight in its own right, but it also acted as a catalyst for me to complete a long unfinished project… something I wanted to show new crocheters to demonstrate that crochet is so much more than granny squares.

Many moons ago I knitted some socks for Mr Stitch (whose work also featured in last week’s Three Things Thursday) in exchange for him making me a leather strap and base for a bag. My intention was to make a felt bag that would hold an A4 folder or two and that I could use when I was teaching. It took me ages to get round to doing the felting, and I really wasn’t satisfied with my creation, so I put it all to one side and pondered how to make the thing that I envisaged. And I pondered and pondered and then I gave up academic teaching and no longer wanted ‘that’ bag. Eventually, I settled on crocheting the bag rather than felting it and decided to use up  lots of scraps of natural-coloured pure wool. I loved doing the crochet and was very happy with the end result, but once more the project stalled; this time because of my lack of enthusiasm for sewing. Finally I got hold of some Buckram to stiffen it (given to me by someone who had it going spare) and made a lining out of some strong cotton fabric scraps… then I decided that the way I had constructed the lining wasn’t ideal… and once more I ground to a halt. After I while I converted the first attempt at the lining into a useful drawstring bag in which to keep my passata maker, and then I awaited inspiration. This eventually struck – I could suddenly see the best structure. I cut out the fabric (more scrap heavy duty cotton). The final hand stitching took hours and hours – attaching the leather pieces required much patience as I had to line up the external and internal pieces on either side of the crochet and liner and stitch through all the layers. The leather had already been punched, but it was still a fiddly and difficult job. And it took me several weeks to complete, finally finished on Saturday afternoon, just in time to be able to show it off to my learners on Sunday. So, here it is… hopefully built to last!

All the components except the leather pieces were scraps and even the little metal feet on the base of the bag were reclaimed.

Three Things Thursday: 13 October 2016

As usual I’m joining with Emily of Nerd in the Brain (and others) for Three Things Thursday’. As she says…

*three things that make me smile: an exercise in gratitude – feel free to steal this idea with wild abandon and fill your blog with the happy*

This is UK Wool Week, so I’m celebrating things woolly…

First, I have finally finished the main blocks of my crochet flower cardigan and have begun on the flowers themselves. Currently there’s only one in place, but I do have a little basket of a couple of dozen flower centres:


One day I will have a cardigan

Second, I’m making progress on lining, stiffening and constructing a crochet bag that I made from left-over yarn from other projects. The sewing is taking way longer than the crochet did, but the end is in sight.


Eventually it will be a small woolly satchel

Third, I’m enjoying using yarn scraps to make little fair-isle mice. These are going to be displayed at Ludlow Library as part of a project by Loudwater Studio to create an Enchanted Winter Garden. Loudwater Studio is “a fantastic arts, crafts and sound recording studio for the whole community” in Ludlow. The project appealed especially because it’s in the library. Anyway, if you want to contribute too, follow the link above to see the details. The mouse pattern is by Janet McMahon on her blog Yellow Pink and Sparkly here. Oh, I’ve made a snowflake too!


Knitted mice, crochet snowflake

So, those are three things making me smile this week – what about you?

Distractions and an on-going project (still)

The wedding was weeks ago and I still haven’t finished the jacket I intended to wear for it. Note to self – be not too ambitious when selecting a pattern that needs to be completed by a specific deadline. Rather than setting it aside in a fit of pique, however, I have persisted and am rather enjoying it… here is progress so far:


At least I have two sleeves now

Soon I will be starting on the flowers that will adorn the ends of the sleeves and the open edges.

Focusing on such a time-consuming creation has meant relatively few finished objects. However, I recently realised that, to lift my mood, it would be good to make some small things, so I did: a trial pair of dragon-scale wrist warmers, a couple of hats (one for me and one for a friend) and a squash (which I now have no idea what to do with!):

It’s always good to make something when you feel glum! What do you do when the world feels depressing?

Friday fail…

… well, not so much a fail as an unfinished object that I would have liked to have finished…

We are going to a wedding next week and I wanted to make myself a cardigan to wear. Unfortunately, I got fixated on a pattern worked in lace weight yarn. In all honesty, I knew that I did not have time to make it, but I still tried.

It’s a simple pattern, but will (eventually) have an edging of lots and lots of crochet flowers. So far I’m still on the second of the sleeve/body pieces. Ah well, it will be lovely when it’s finished and I’ll just have to wear a cardigan I already have.

Here it is so far…

Three Things Thursday: 25 August 2016

As usual I’m joining with Emily of Nerd in the Brain (and others) for Three Things Thursday’. As she says…

*three things that make me smile: an exercise in gratitude – feel free to steal this idea with wild abandon and fill your blog with the happy*

First, breaking even. I’ve now got to the point where my year’s pass for the local swimming pool is paying off. Since the middle of January I have been swimming 59 times. This means that every time I go for the rest of the year is effectively free (in fact break-even was at 56).


I think this is the only photo I have of the swimming pool

Second, moths. I love moths and we’ve been enjoying visits from a variety of them in both the house and the garden. Mr Snail has taken some lovely photographs over the past couple of weeks, here are a few of them…

Third, generosity. I have received two large parcels of yarn from Gabriella, one of you lovely people who follow this blog. She was having a sort-out and asked me if I might be able to make use of some of her unwanted stash. I was completely bowled over by what arrived. Some of this will be used in my beginners crochet class in October, and I plan to make a blanket with some of it and other yarn in my stash to send to the marvellous charity Knit for Peace. There was even a knitted square in with the yarn that I shall use as the centre for the blanket.


Such kindness

So that’s it for this week. What are you feeling grateful for?


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