Lily’s Lilypad Fireplace Blanket.

crochet blanket enjoying the autumn sunshine.

At last I have finished! It has been an age. I got the wool in July, which to me seems like a loooong time ago. The first post I mentioned it in reminds me not to just click on auto edit when sorting out the photos because, crikey, those pictures need toning down. Hope I’ve improved since then. The next picture doesn’t count, it was taken indoors on a rainy day :/

Tiles around the fireplace. Inspiration for a crochet blanket!

These are the tiles which orginally inspired the colour choices (and a red rug that sits in front of the fire).

granny square blanket for the fireside.

I used the Lily pad square from Pasta and Patchwork but I added extra chains between stitches for the first couple of rounds as my squares were not sitting flat. Indeed, they looked like strange nipples. They still don’t sit flat but they would with blocking. However, blocking things increases waiting time and I just want to see a blanket finished. I’m too impatient for it but this blanket would really benefit from blocking. Over time, it’ll sort itself out!

Lily pad granny square

I used Drops Karisma for this project. It has alpaca in it and it’s super warm. It’s nice and hefty; has real cosiness. The colours are: light beige, olive, mint, light dusty pink, dark mustard, light grey green, chocolate brown, wine red and beige brown mix. I used 7 balls of light beige and two of each for the others. It’s an odd size: 6×9 which is slightly over long, or not quite wide enough, depending on which way you want to look at it. I actually planned for 7×7 but I didn’t want to have that much leftover yarn and I wasn’t sure it’d be that big. Unfortunately I was a square short to add another row of 7.  I eeked it out with what I could and this was the formation that used the most squares.

Love the crochetedging on this granny blanket

I think the border suits it very well and I will use it for my next blanket (which I’ve already started!). The border has come from Around the Corner, Crochet Borders by Edie Eckman. It’s the last two rows of pattern 27. The corners are made up because I hadn’t laid the foundation stitches from the pattern (not enough yarn for that). I think it works beautifully well.

newly made crochet granny blanket

Hmm, I took quite a lot of pictures. I wanted to get them right though. Think I’ve done an OK job.

Lily pad square by Pasta and Patchwork.

another finished crochet blanket.

continuous join for putting granny squares together.

I’ve used a Continuous Join As You Go. I learned this method using a fabulous tutorial, it’s the clearest one I’ve found. I used two UK trebles in every other stitch, which is different from the cluster used in the tutorial but the principle is the same.

granny blanket

I’m properly pleased with this new blanket. I will be waving goodbye to it at the end of the month when I hand it over to my Sister in Law. A Lily pad blanket for Lily, or a Fireplace Blanket.

Next, I’m focussing on Halloween decorations, hopefully there will be a post about that and I’m also working on a new pattern for something Christmassy. It doesn’t feel right liaising with Father Christmas before I’ve sorted Halloween but there you go.

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Getting ready for Hallowe’en, Amigurumi patterns aplenty!

The Amigurumi Halloween collection.

I originally planned to start working on my Halloween ideas in the summer. That didn’t really happen and I’ve left it until late. Not a surprise. I’ve been rush rushing to get my brain babies out and into the open for a few weeks. I was pretty keen to get some patterns up and running by October but have been somewhat disorganised. Having said that… I’ve only gone and done it!

working on halloween project.

A tray of mess is what I have had sat on my lap every nap time for about three weeks. I have made many variations of witches, bats, cats and pumpkins. I started pretty much from scratch but the idea is based on one I had about four years ago. I remember starting to write the witch pattern down (based on some Christmas angels that weren’t very good). I think it is probably a good thing that I lost what I’d written because I found the initial attempts…

working on a witch

Hidden in a bag under the stairs were some sorry looking heads and hats and unidentifiable things.

Yucky old witch head.

Poor, yucky old witch head. Ugh, it belongs to the cat now. It’s been clawed and beaten but it’s robust enough that the stuffing is still there inside her green head. Anyway, I shall move on to how she looks now…

Halloween amigurumi. Little crochet witch.

She’s in need of a haircut but other than that, I am very pleased with what I’ve come up with. Begone manhands!

little purple amigurumi witch.

Here she is, off to a party. She’s got her fancy hat on and she’s carrying her fabulous pumpkin. She’s got some mates too…

Mini crochet bat. Halloween amigurumi.

amigurumi halloween cat

She also thought she’d try growing pumpkins in her veg patch. She was quite pleased with the results.

mini crochet pumpkins for a cute garland. Free pattern!

Anyway, I took a deep breath and decided to be brave. I thought I would try something new, you know, just give it a go. So…. I have added these to a Ravelry shop. Me and Husband worked together to sort out how to actually open a Ravelry shop after Bake Off last night. For peeps that have never done this before, it was quite confusing but I think it’s worked. The pattern has had some ‘likes’ too! It has joined my Owl pattern on Ravelry but unlike the owl pattern I am charging a small fee for this Halloween Collection. A lot of work has gone into, not only designing the patterns themselves, but also making sure it all looks smart and lovely. This is partly down to the help I’ve had, so thank you to my friends who have all done their bit to support me and give me advice. X

Zeens and Roger now has a Ravelry shop. Woot!

And an Etsy shop! Woot Woot!

I think it’ll take time to learn how to use these selling platforms, I have no clue what I’m doing. None at all! But I will get there eventually.

Wait! Hang on a minute! Just because I can, I’m sharing the pumpkin pattern here! Huzzah! If you like it, think about popping over to the shop to purchase the rest of the pattern for the full set. Thanks very much.

Small crochet pumpkins. Free pattern!

Mini Halloween Pumpkin (Measures about 2.5cm across):
Using orange yarn.
Round 1: 6 into a Magic Ring
Round 2: inc around. [12]
Round 3: (sc in next st, inc in next) around. [18]
Round 4-5: sc around. [18]
Round 6: (sc in next st, dec). [12]
Round 7: dec around [6].
Fo and leave an extra long tail (at least 50cm).
Stitch closed by threading needle through the front loops and pulling tight to close hole. Thread the tail through the top centre of the pumpkin keeping the yarn tight. Wrap the yarn over the outside the pumpkin and thread through the bottom centre of the pumpkin. Repeat this 4 or 5 more times for a good pumpkin effect. Keep the yarn nice and tight. Secure yarn and fo. Thread some green yarn through the centre of the pumpkin and then back through, leaving a loop (be careful not to pull it all back through). Knot the ends together tightly and snip tails short.

Cute little crochet pumpkins. Free crochet pattern!

And there we have it. Now that it’s all done I feel a bit weird. I have lots more ideas for the future but my head is going a bit crazy and it’s working faster than my hands can. I wish someone would pay me to play.

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A mishmash of catch ups.

Putting together the fireplace blanket.

To begin my mishmash here is some progress on the fireplace blanket. I can tell it’s going to be a weighty blanket for its size. Soon it’ll be finished but I am so gonna run out of wool.  More balls have been ordered but not sure yet as to whether it’ll be enough for an impressive border.

new witchy amigurumi

I’m also working on a witchy pattern for Halloween. I’m not 100% happy with her hat yet. And she’s got man hands, which’ll have to get sorted.

A stripey birthday card

My first Sharpie adventure. A simple birthday card.

Say hello to Marceline

We got a cat! This is Marceline the Vampire Queen. She arrived during the last week of the summer holidays. Daughter of Cinnamon, Grandaughter of Nutmeg.

Marcy on the bed.

She’s a lovely girl who likes shades of red.

Marceline in the garden

She has been enjoying some late summer sunshine…

Marcy exploring her new garden

And getting to know the garden. She thinks leeks are tasty.

messy veg patch. end of season.

It’s the end of the season for sure. This is the point where I stop trying to maintain the garden and let it go nuts. I’ve got to be good and go out there for a tidy up. Nemotodes arrived in the post last week so I know I’ve got to get a move on. Hopefully these parasitic wormy friends will sort out my vine weevil problem. The idea is that they’ll feast upon the grub guts like there’s no tomorrow.

salvia patens. cambridge blue.

Salvia Patens. Time to gather their seeds so I can grow more. It’s a bit wet out there right now though.

Autumn berries.

Hawthorn and Holly. I used to get excited about seeing all this red because I thought I could nick it at Christmas to decorate my house Pagan style.  I now know that it’ll all be gone by then. The birds will scoff them all.

Pink cosmos and bee

Pink Cosmos. I’m impressed that I’ve still got flowers in the garden at all. There is still quite a lot of colour out there. Still, it’s not really Autumn yet.

calendula in the front garden.

These Calendula are in the front garden. I don’t really look after the front the way I do the back garden. It gets straggly and neglected.

calendula and bee

It doesn’t seem to matter to the bees and their friends. They still get their buzz on.

Any way, I should go now to continue with the crochet. I’ve got a long list of things to finish and more yet to start. Also, I’m gonna make a pie for tomorrow’s tea. Bake off is making me do it.

The garden in late summer.

baby bonnet. cotton crochet

Before I post endless pictures of the garden, I had better show at least one recent crochet project. This is a cute baby bonnet I made for a friend, whose baby girl was born last week.

tiny crochet baby bonnet

I made it in a DK cotton. I thought cotton would be best for a teeny weeny new born.

baby's crochet bonnet

I found the pattern on Pinterest. It was a lovely pattern, very easy to follow. It is here. You can add a couple more rows to make it bigger. Once I’d finished, I wished I had. However, it fits! Not for long though.

Any way, the following pictures are more for my benefit than any one else. I’m posting them so I can see how the garden looked in the late summer of 2015! The answer is, messy.

spider and bee

I have always taken pictures of the garden and over the years it has changed quite a lot. The photo’s are a reminder because otherwise I’d assume it always looked the same. It’s easy to forget.

fluffy bee on his sunflower

Busy bee.

bee on a sunflower

He didn’t mind having a camera poked at him in the slightest.

summer garden is a mess

It never occurred to me before that sunflowers would seed themselves. I said in a previous post that it is because of my dodgy homemade compost. The Hollyhocks are doing surprisingly well but they’re very spindly. Just the white ones arrived.

summer gardewn flowers

I’ll be interested to look back on these in a year or two. I hope to make some changes to the planting but need to have a think.

garden in late summer

The Honeysuckle had it’s best year so far. Lots of flowers appeared. We hacked it back to just a few inches last year. Did the trick.

A late summer garden

I could have taken some pictures of a different area of the g arden I suppose. Um, Maybe the tatty looking veg patches. Everything is coming to an end.

I have been busy crafting and taking too many pictures. So many, that sorting through them has been blah. So this post is a bit of a filler really. I will be getting my bum in gear and doing some more crafty business in the next couple of weeks.

 

Some more Leibster questions

6am red sky in the morningBack garden at 6am last Thursday and contrary to the saying, the shepherds did not need to be warned, it was a nice day.

Last week I nominated Esshaych for the Liebster Award. Well, Esshaych has nominated me back and I get to answer some more questions! Esshaych is a great blog for those (like me), who enjoy amigurumi. If you don’t know what this Liebster thing is about have a look at my last post.

Here are the questions I was asked:

1. What is your favourite craft, and why?

I like lots of different crafts but crochet is probably the one I do the most. I also enjoy sewing little things such as bags, purses and toys. I’d like to say I’m a regular clothes maker too but I can’t find enough time.

2. Best thing you’ve ever made?

I made Beth Doherty’s fawn and I love him.

amigurumi fawn. a bit dusty now

He isn’t perfect and he’s covered in dust now. He’s so tightly stitched that he can stand all by himself. I’m proud of that!!

Amigurumi fawn. He's a few years old and looking dusty. Still love him.

I’ve been asked to make these for people but I’ve been putting it off as I remember some tricky techniques involved. The pattern is in this book.

3. And the worst?!

I was asked this question before and I’ve made some pretty shoddy things over the last few years. I attempted to design a crochet cupcake that was just an embarrassment and the first blankets I made were terrible.

4. Do you have any superstitions?

I secretly worry after I’ve walked under a ladder.

5. Do you prefer to read books or watch movies?

Both. But they’re often sidelined if I need to do something crafty. I can’t crochet and watch tv at the samew time. I miss too much of what’s going on.

6. Your favourite place you have visited?

Not sure I have an ultimate favourite but Lydford Gorge on Dartmoor is amazing (even better if there are no other visitors). Any where on Dartmoor is cool. There are lots of piskies running around. You will never see them watching you. They’re there.

7. What craft supply did you purchase last?

I bought some cream DK with dark speckles in it. I was trying to see if it would make a good amigurumi snowy owl (it won’t).

8. Dolls – Yes or No?!

Yes. I want to sew some dolls but they always end up at the bottom of the to make list. 😦

9. Ever been to any gigs/concerts? If so, what was your favourite and why?

When I was 15 I went to see Blur and REM at Milton Keynes Bowl. It was so hot that day. It was the first time Blur sang Country House! I loved that song! I also saw Primal Scream around the same time.  I can’t say that either of these experiences blew me away. I’ve seen other bands since but it’s been a while. I’d like to take my boys to a festival when they’re a bit older but I don’t think they’d like it in the dance tent (that’s where I’d head to now).

10. Do you own any cacti?

No but I’m not averse to the idea. We do need more plants in my house. I’d like some in the bathroom to make it look like a jungle.

11. Favourite colour/colour combo?

Green and brown are my favourite colours.

And below are the questions from Ericka Eckles. She was one of my nominees and has gone to town on her answers. They’re fabulous!

If you could have a fantasy date with anyone who would it be?

I love this question. I am going to say Nathan Fillion. I don’t really fancy him but I think he’s very funny. Love Firefly and love Castle.  In a minute I’ll remember someone super hot and wish I’d said them. No! I won’t, that’s mega shallow.

What pieces connected with what you love to do, do you really treasure….

All the uniques things that no one else has. Handmade things. My crochet case is handmade as is my needle case. And I love all the ladybird books I’ve collected. I love looking at the pictures and I like the fact that I can get one down from the shelf to show my children an interesting fact about the weather or something.

What do you wish you were better at/could do?

I’d like to be a fancy knitter and super dressmaker. Given the time, I could definitely get better at both but I want to do everything NOW and that’s frustrating.

sun setting over houses(Friday evening at the front of the house).

Hopefully I’ll be able to share some more stuff soon. Back to normal next week, once eldest son has gone back to school. I’m looking forward to helping at a fairy fancy dress party in a couple of weeks. There will be mucho crafting involved in that. And for the last couple of weeks I have already had Halloween on my mind. Definitely gonna do crafty shenanigans for that…

Pens, Pencil Cases and Getting out there.

I've never seen so many Sharpie colours!

I bought pens! So many pens. I am not entirely sure what I’m going to use them for. It was a bit of a naughty purchase really but they were only £6.99 from WHSmiths.

My new Sharpie pens!

Looking at Pinterest last night I learned that, contrary to what I believed, they are actually useless for tarting up plates and cups. Not that I was planning on drawing all over my crockery but it leaves me with one less option. My first thought upon getting all these shiny new things was where to put them? Well…..

Newly made zippered bag. Easy pattern!

I made them a pencil case all of their very own! It didn’t take very long and I had to get the sewing machine out to do a proper sewing thing anyway (more curtains). It is based on the mini zippered bag but I’ve made this a lot so I didn’t need to follow the tutorial.

An easy to make zippered bag.

I love the fabric. I bought it in May, in a little shop in Exmouth called Creative Sewing. It sells the loveliest, prettiest, poshest fabric. I only bought a few fat quarters and some ribbon because I couldn’t afford much else. Now I have a new home for my pens. The children are not allowed these pens, we’ve only just redecorated.

Simply Crochet Magazine reader pages.

Look! It’s me!! I made these little guys a few weeks ago and tagged Simply Crochet magazine on the picture I instagrammed. I was pretty chuffed to see them in the magazine. Now I know they don’t make up pretend readers! I don’t often buy magazines (not reeeallly), let alone make the patterns within the pages but I did this time. It has definitely given me a boost but I am wondering if I should aim higher next time. I’m thinking about focusing more on my own designs and seeing what happens if I shout loud about them… for example:

lots of crochet owls

These little hooters are becoming really popular. I posted the pattern at the beginning of the month. They are my Granny Owl Decorations. A few days later I twigged that I should probably put them on Ravelry. I did and it went a bit mental for a couple of days. Then yesterday, completely out of the blue, they gathered loads of interest after someone (I’ve no idea who) posted a link on their Facebook page. Very interesting, very exciting. I guess I need to be less scared about what I’m doing. Stop being a wimp. And I guess I should say “Thanks” to those who have found and liked my owlies. There will definitely be more patterns from me in the future.

PS I’m many places online. Over on the right you can see my Instagram, Facebook and Twitter pages. Please Follow/Like and what have you. And I’m also on Pinterest (all.the.time).  Have a look! Thank you. X

Catching up with crochet blankets and changes in the garden.

Not quite half way to go in my new blanket.

I haven’t been working on these squares since the summer holidays began. I honestly didn’t think the holidays would have much of an impact on my crafty gubbins but it absoloutely has. Progress has slowed right down. However, this is still a good batch of squares. So far, there are fifty two and shockingly, ends have already been sewn in. Some ends have been sewn in. A few. I want over a hundred to make this blanket.  I can’t remember the exact number needed. It doesn’t matter at this stage. I’ll have a play and then decide.

I love the pattern for this one. It takes a weeny bit longer to make than a regular Granny but it looks that much more special. It’s called the Petal Patch Motif by Betsy Makes. I’ll give myself an Autumn deadline for this one.

Fireplace tile squares

I’ve also been having a good old tinker around with this pattern. It’s the Lily Pad square and it’s very pretty. I’m particularly looking forward to seeing this one complete. I have a feeling it’ll look lovely.

The first square I made is the one on the bottom right. The middle is tighter and kind of went nipply (?!). I added some chains between stitches for the first couple of rounds, which sorted that out. I have also only just twigged that it’s someone called Lily who will become the owner of this blanket! Lily pads for Lily. Hee!

tiles around the fireplace

This tile is the inspiration for the colours. I wrote about it a couple of weeks ago and haven’t moved on that much further. Fingers crossed that the colours match in real life. It’s tricky colour matching by photographs.

Looking up at the fig tree.

Will I be getting ripe figs this year? Last year, the tree was laden with fruit but none of the blighters ripened. I always get excited about seeing them ripen but truthfully, I thinks figs are a bit pappy. However, I do like to pass them on to friends. People get excited by homegrown figs and I like to hand out bags and bags of them.

Runner beans are easy to grow

My runner beans are in full swing. I flippin love runner beans. I’m tempted to make chutney this year. I have a good recipe somewhere and I haven’t made any for a few years. Hmm. I could make some courgette chutney too…

pink japanese anemone against the sky.

The pink Japanese Anemone is looking fabulous at the moment. I wish I could say the same for the white one I got a couple of years ago. The white one is in too much shade and I’m not sure the ground, in which it sits, is that nutrient rich. I might dig it up and move it.

great anemone photo

Scroll past these if you like. I’m gonna add another anemone picture next too…

cottage garden with pink japanese anemone

Behind, on the right is Arron’s Rod, I think. A bit weedy but it is adding height. I really need to research some flowering plants that are about 6 foot tall. Any suggestions?

baby garden spider

Helloo baby garden spider. I saw loads of these in the spring when they’d hatched, so I knew they would find themselves homes. He flashed his belly at me.

Going for cottage garden look

The garden in the summer looks a lot different to how it was in the spring. There are brighter flowers and it looks a lot less organised.  I don’t know how to plan planting very well and it shows.

Hollyhocks, crocosmia and a pink weed

I’m astounded that the Hollyhocks flowered. They have been affected by rust. I sprayed them with Rose Clear, which has antifungal things in it. It seems to have helped them to recover just enough. Not just for roses it seems. Beside it, the Crocosmia is mightily happy. It isn’t bothered by rust.

I did not plant this sunflower

Several Sunflowers have come up at the bottom of the garden. I didn’t put them there. What I did put there was homemade compost. I deny putting Sunflowers in the compost though. I have no idea how they got there. Lots of self seeding has gone on down at the bottom of the garden. That Borage has barged its way in. And there is what I suspect to be Verbena Bonariensis coming up too.  The pink flowers are Lavatera but that was deliberately planted.

summer colours in the garden.

So, there are all these colours going on. It’s a bit of a muddle. It looks nice enough but I need lessons in planning. Maybe an overhaul for next year? Do I start now? I’m not sure what to do.