Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Going Loop-y

Hello again all, I'm back after another longer than intended absence. I think I have to accept that at the moment I can only be a semi-regular blogger!

I've just spent the last couple of weeks trying to establish my new routine as a person living alone, and basically starting to enjoy having my own space.

I've baked (cupcakes) and spent a bit of time poring over recipe books in bookshops - no purchases yet, but I've been working out what I want to buy.

I've started a couple of new knitting projects (I just couldn't help myself) including this one, which is a moss stitch scarf. I question the wisdom of my yarn choice for this, but something compelled me to it. It's fingering weight yarn - Madeleine Tosh to be exact in shade Briar. I had two skeins in my stash that were crying out to be used, and somehow I felt it had to be a moss stitch scarf. Knitting this on 2.75 mm needles is going to take me forever, but I think I might manage it. Everytime I think of all the thousands of stitches I still have to work, I look down at the fabric I'm creating and know it will be worth it, no matter how long it takes! What can I say, it's a purple-moss stitch-4 ply love affair!

I've also been poring over my stash and day dreaming of possibilities. Below is the moss stitch scarf I'm already working on with several skeins of Blue Sky Alpacas Silk. Do you know the joy-mingled-with-frustration of having such a gorgeous yarn that you are at once desperate to make something with it, but also feel that no possible project will ever do it justice?! There should be a term for this!

More yarn - sigh!

Last time I asked you for suggestions for shawl patterns. Thanks to those of you who made comments and suggestions. Several people suggested Ravelry, and I now have a few patterns lined up. The first project I have, which I've already started, is not a shawl but the Song of the Sea cowl. I just couldn't resist the art-deco waves! More on that next time though.

With all the excitement over the patterns I found on Ravely, I felt I have to buy some new yarn (yes I know, as you can see from the shots above, there is plenty of yarn already in my stash!).

So, on Saturday I made a visit to London's Loop, one of my all time fave independent yarn shops. If you ever get the chance, go! It is utter heaven! I spent a bliss-full 30 minutes caressing various skeins (S and I were heading to the cinema, so I was on a short time frame - probably just as well, or who knows how much yarn I would have ended up buying!). The long suffering S was forced to lurk outside (along side other slightly bored looking males, presumably associated with the other ladies that were also floating around the shop on clouds of yarn induced happiness!) while I indulged my yarn habit, but he's always very patient about these things!

Eventually I choose some skeins of pure superwash wool, Eden Cottage dk, in shades of green and silver-grey. I've already started on my cowl, photos next time!

That's all for now!


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Saturday, 15 February 2014

This week

This week has been so windy and wild and wet. It's been all about trying to stay warm and keep the spirits up. Luckily for me my are isn't near any rivers so we haven't experienced any flooding. 

I've been cosying up on the sofa with knitting, hot water bottles and lots of cups of tea!

One of the hyacinths is now blooming- the white one.  The pink is lagging behind rather and is still refusing to come out and say hello.  Well maybe this will be the week.

I've spent a lot of the last few weeks, when I've had craft time, browsing for a knitted shawl pattern. I'd really like to knit a triangular shawl, but I need something simple to start with. Does anyone have any ideas?  


Sunday, 9 February 2014

Sunshine motif and cushion - a tutorial

It's been a while since I have had time to make a new tutorial, but as I've had, I think, a few requests for a tutorial for the sunshine cushion which I made at the end of last summer, I thought I'd better try and get on with it! So here's the finished article, as a little reminder. The tutorial follows below for the motif, with some brief instructions for making the cushion cover, because once you know how to make the motif, the rest is really pretty simple.

So, here we go with the motif instructions!

I'm using Rowan Siena cotton 4 ply and a 3mm hook, but any suitable hook and yarn combination will suffice

Step 1: Foundations

Chain 4 and join into a ring by slip stitching into the first chain.

Round 1: Work 12 trebles into the ring.

Step 2: Pretty fillet round

In this round you will be working into the tops of the trebles from the previous round. 

Start by chaining 5. This counts as your first treble, plus another 2 chain. Work *1 treble into the next stitch, followed by another 2 chain. Repeat from * another 10 times, so that every stitch from the previous round has been worked into. Finish the round by slip stitching into the 3rd of the 5 chain you worked at the start of the round.

 You should now have something looking like this:

Step 3: sunshine clusters

In this round you will be working into the 2 chain spaces between trebles created in the last round. You need to work a cluster stitch into each space. Start by slip stitching into the first space next to your hook to move your hook and yarn into position. 

Work a 4 treble cluster as follows:
*Yarn round hook, put hook through chain space, yarn round hook, pull yarn through chain space, yarn round hook, pull through first two loops on hook** (one loop remaining on hook). Repeat from * to ** noting that with each repeat you will have gained an extra loop on your hook at the end. Work 5 repeats in total for a 5 treble cluster. You should now have 5 loops on your hook. To finish the cluster, wrap yarn around hook, and pull through all 5 loops on hook. Chain 3 and create another treble cluster in the next chain space. Continue in this way until a 5 treble cluster has been worked into each 2 chain space from last round, noting that you will chain 3 between each cluster.

Finish the round with a 3 chain, and slip stitch into top of the first treble cluster in the round.

 Step 4: Squaring off

Phew, the scary treble cluster stuff is done!

To position your yarn and hook correctly, start by slip stitching into the first of the 3 chain spaces created in the last round. Now, work 4 chain (counts as first double treble), followed by 2 double trebles, 2 chain and 3 double trebles into the same 3 chain space. This forms the first corner of your square. *Work 3 trebles into the next 3 chain space. Repeat from * once more. Into the next 3 chain space work 3 double trebles, 2 chain, 3 double trebles**. Repeat from * to ** 2 times more. Work 3 trebles into each of the next 2 3 chain spaces. Complete round by slip stitching into 4th of 4 chain made at start of round.

That's it! Hopefully you now have something like this:

To make a cushion cover to fit a 16 inch square cushion pad, made 50 motifs (25 for each side). Stitch motifs together into rows of 5 by oversewing the edges of the squares together. Stitch 5 rows of 5 together to form a square for each side. Work 1 round of double crochet around the entire edge of each side. Fasten off loose ends. Holding the two sides with wrong sides facing together and right facing out, double crochet around 3 sides of square, ensuring that your stitches are joining the two sides of the cover. Insert cushion pad. If liked, seal cushion by continuing to double crochet across the fourth side of the cover. Alternatively, for a removable cover, work a series of short 3 chain loops, evenly space along either side of your cover. Use these loops as button holes. and stitch buttons to the other side of the cover to form a closure.

That's all! Hope it works out - please let me know if you have any problems!


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Sunday, 2 February 2014

Colour wheel

Thank heavens it February at last! I don't know about you, but for me, it felt like January was going on forever! I do and I don't like January. I like the post-Christmas feel of a fresh start at the beginning of the month, but by the end I am definitely ready for spring. And this year the weather has been so awful here - even by January standards. Heaps of rain and really cold, though not cold enough for snow.

I'm still working on my crochet blanket - the same one that I've been working on for months. The last couple of weeks have made me desperate to finish it. I don't know if I have mentioned this before, but my flat does not have central heating - just those little electric fan heaters in the living and bedrooms. So, the last week or so, it has been freezing, and especially fridge like in the bedroom! So I really want my new blanket finished so that I have a nice big blanket for my bed. 

I've had a lot of fun playing with the colours for this blanket - each square has 3 different colours in it, plus the white that I'm using for the borders. Sometimes I struggle to come up with different combinations of colours that don't use the same colours over and over again. So, I've been trying to mentally match the colours I have in my stash to the colour wheel to help me see combinations that work well together. You can see my colour wheel above - it has just about all the colours I've been using for this blanket.

I probably don't have those colours arranged in exactly the right order, but that's how they flow to me.

Here are a few of the colour combinations that I've found and really liked. I think these are all variants of split-complementary colour combinations. This is where you have two complementary colours (opposite each other on the colour wheel) and then have a second, analogous shade for one of the colours.

You can find some great tips about colour combinations on this blog.

This last colour combination below is an analogous scheme really I think.


Well, apart from that the waiting for spring continues! I've been buying flowers to try and cheer myself up during the grim-ness of these final months of winter. Roses again!

I've also treated myself to two pots of hyacinths - one pink and one white, though now I taken the tags out I can't remember which is which. It'll be a nice surprise! All I have to do now is wait for them to bloom, while I carry on waiting for spring!