Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Make do and mend Lily cushion

I hate waste and find I have many crochet experiments that fall by the wayside and the crochet eventually gets thrown in the rag bag. After deciding to make a larger Lily pond blanket and making two blocks, we decided to sell our two seater sofa and get a couple of armchairs. I had intended to put the Lily pond blanket over the back of the sofa. Now that there is no immediate use for the blanket, I have made the decision to stick to the original pattern. So there were two crochet panels and three experimental Lily blocks to find a use for. On a whim I made a cushion cover and found some Pom poms left over from a rug I was going to make a few years ago.


I love that this cushion cover is made up entirely of scraps...


It is not my usual style, but it is fun and will go with the blanket when it is finished.



The blanket is nearly finished! Looking forward to starting something new. I've bought the materials to make a macrame owl... How difficult can macrame be? I will post a picture of the finished blanket before my brief return to blogging ends. Enjoy your week x




Thursday, 11 June 2015

Lily

Week five of the Stylecraft Lily crochet along had the best block to date and it seemed to cheer everyone up to work with more vibrant colours. I have decided to do my Lily flowers in cream and pale yellow and the centre block is now complete.


The above photo shows week five block and I have worked each one in different colours. I have added extra dc around the edge to create curling and more of a three dimensional look. 

I've also changed the arrangement of the blocks. At the start of this CAL I joined the Stylecraft Lily blanket official Facebook group and it has on the whole been helpful. There are a lot of rigid souls in the group who wish to stick to the pattern religiously and use only the stated yarn,shades and pattern instructions! Everyone is different; I would go mad if I had to follow someone else's colour choices and pattern down to the last letter for that matter.


I didn't realise until I laid out the blocks just how small this blanket was going to be. Too small to be of any use to me, so I am going to add a few blocks and make it rectangular I think. Laid out it doesn't look much, but there are so many hours work here.

 I have been crocheting for almost five years now and in that time there have not been many days when I haven't crocheted. This CAL hasn't introduced many new techniques, but it has encouraged me to take more care with the assembly of a blanket and it has been interesting being part of a group. I would say this CAL is intermediate level, I don't know how beginners are managing to do it. The written instructions are confusing sometimes.



Don't let this put you off though, there are helpful video tutorials on YouTube and at the end of the day, crochet is a fun hobby that does not need to be perfect.









Saturday, 30 May 2015

Lily pond-dering


At this moment in time I am not loving the overall look of this blanket and think it needs some plain blocks. Maybe it is lacking a few lily pads?

I must say hello and thank you for your kind comments on my last post. I did not expect anyone to have taken a look at my post and it was lovely to hear from some familiar blog friends.


I made this cushion and still haven't decided on an edging. It was an experiment to see if woolly cross stitch would work on the blanket as I originally wanted Koi in my Lily pond! The Koi came out well in the end. I think the cushion will look ok with the right edging to bring it to life.


There have been a few emails regarding the watermarks I use on my photos. I realise they are not 
aesthetically pleasing, but I became annoyed by people claiming my crochet as their own. Goodness knows what satisfaction one gets from such actions. It is a bug bear of mine and I know I shouldn't let 
it get to me. 

Below is another experiment with a lily pad.


Week four of the cal gave instructions on how to join two blocks together. I found it fiddly to work slip stitches on top of block four and did mine on the edge and then slip stitched block three and block four together on the reverse side. I am very pleased with the results. 


I haven't blocked the panels yet, but they still lie flat and look neat. Below is a picture of the reverse to show the slip stitch stitching. I did try to slip stitch on top of the crochet block, but it did not look good so I went and did what was I was familiar with.



Above is a photo of the slip stitches down the edge of block four.


Week 5 block is released on Tuesday and I am looking forward to making some Lily flower blocks.

During the last week something rather magical has happened and I particularly thought this would interest you Frances. A blackbird flew into our lounge when the patio doors were open and sat on a dining chair for a while and then flew out again. I decided to put some sultanas on the mat by the patio door after this and ever since he comes in to collect sultanas for his family. If the door is shut he taps on the window of whatever room we are in, until he is let in! We just think this is magical.






Sunday, 24 May 2015

A little lily pond post





The above blanket is Jane Crowfoot's finished Lily pond blanket.... The crochet-a-long is to make this blanket.

On a whim I decided to join in the stylecraft lily pond cal; the pattern is by Jane Crowfoot.

This is the first CAL I have taken part in and it is enjoyable and a good way to step outside your comfort zone. There is no way I would have attempted this project if I hadn't decided to do a CAL. Some parts are fiddly to do and some a bit tedious, but I know the end result will look good. 

It has been fun to make the blocks slightly different to the pattern and to be more creative with the use of colour. Lily ponds are not a uniform colour and vary so greatly in the different light throughout the day; I want to capture this natural beauty with the yarn I use. I am not using style craft yarn exclusively. I love using king cole and their colour choice is great.


Every fortnight a new block pattern is released with written instructions and a few photos. I have struggled in parts to understand the written instructions and would have liked a chart to look at as well. I do appreciate how hard it is to write clear patterns.



Many participants are making versions larger than the original, but I am sticking to the original size. I have no particular plan for the blanket, I just wanted to join in and had plenty of suitable yarn to get going.


I dug out my old Monet book and enjoyed looking through the Lily pond chapter to see how he captured his Lily pond in different light. The very first art gallery I went to in London was The Royal Academy to see Monet's Lily series, many years ago!


This post is a record for myself; a place to upload some progress pictures and inspiring images. There are no links because I do not know how to do them on my app, nor do I want to. Some may find this post and find it interesting and want to seek out the pattern and that is great. The patterns can be found at stylecraft.co.uk. I will not be listing the colours I use as I am using many many scraps and various makes of yarn.



Today I am going to try and recreate some water iris I saw around a Lily pond on a recent holiday... To add a splash of vibrancy!

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Alice owl doorstop crochet-a-long part 3

Yippee!! The last part of the pattern for the owl doorstop...

 
The beak... when I made the beak above I looked like I was performing open heart surgery; the look of concentration was intense! I do not like making double crochet shapes as I often forget to pick up the last stitch and it all starts to look messy. As I was aware I needed to take a close up picture of this beak, I made a real effort to do the best I could. Is crafting meant to give you wrinkles?
 
Beak: Row1 - ch 2, 2 dc (US sc) into 2nd chain from hook, turn.
 
Row 2 - ch 1(turning chain), 1 dc (sc) into 1st st, 2dc (sc) into 2nd st. Turn.
 
Row 3: ch 1, 1 dc (sc) into 1st st, 1 dc (sc) into 2nd st, 2 dc (sc) into last st. Turn.
 
Row 4 - Row 6 (increase) ch 1 (counts as 1 dc or US sc) 1 dc (sc) into 1st st, work 1 dc (sc) into each st, 2 dc (sc) into last st. Turn
 
Row 7 - 9: (decrease) skip 1 ch, 1 dc (sc) into next st, 1 dc (sc) into each st to end. Turn.
Row 10: as R7. At end fasten off.
 
There are 6 rows of increase and 4 rows of decrease. Leave a long tail to sew beak on the body.
 
 
Once the beak is made you can assemble your owl's face. Pin the eyes and beak where you want them and then stitch the beak in place first. I left a long tail end on the beak so I could use this to stitch it in place. Then using matching thread to the outer eye, stitch the eyes in place.
 
Now we will make the ears on the front and back panels.
 

Ears: R1-2: Attach yarn to top corner of front panel and dc (sc) in next 17 stitches. Turn. Ch 1, dc (sc) in each st to end. Change colour yarn. Turn.

R3 -4: ch 1, skip one st and dc in each remaining st to end. Turn. Skip 1 st and dc (sc) in each remaining st to end. Change colour. Turn.

R5 -11: As R3-4

R12: Ch 1, skip 1st st and dc (sc) in remaining 2 sts. Fasten off.

Repeat on other corner and back panels. Keep colour order the same throughout.

Once the ears are made and all ends are sewn in, place the two panels right sides facing and slip stitch up one side, around the ears and down the other side with yarn. Leave the bottom side un-stitched. If you are making a doorstop, it is a good idea to hand-stitch a zip in so the cover can be easily removed and washed. I have just temporarily slip stitched the bottom after the pad has been inserted, as I keep forgetting to buy zips.
 
 
 
It is well worth making the effort to sew a cushion pad as your owl will be a lovely shape and not lumpy and bumpy. It doesn't have to be a work of art. It is essential if you are making a doorstop, as you will fill half of the cushion inner with either sand or rice. I filled half of my inner with polyester stuffing and the bottom half with rice to add weight to the owl. The ear do not have any stuffing in them and are made firm enough to hold their shape.
 
Finally should you make a lady owl, you may want to make her a flower. I used THIS PATTERN and stitched the flower on after the owl was assembled to ensure it was in the right position. I made a four round flower...
 
 
 
So there you have it.... the ingredients to make your own owl. I have set up a Flickr group
so you can share your owl makes... I would love to see how everyone interprets the pattern and makes their own little owls, so please do share your progress and final projects.
 
Alice wanted a beau... so Alfred was made. They look very happy together don't you think?
 
 
 
I wanted Alfred owl to look more masculine and this is why I chose to make the inner eyes slightly larger and obviously did not give him a flower.
 
I have been asked what colours were used for Alfred... well, I used predominantly Stylecraft special dk in colours sherbert, bluebell, wisteria, aspen, spring green, turquoise and king cole dk in violet.

Happy crocheting x

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Alice owl crochet-a-long part 2


Hello! Today its all about the eyes... the eyes give your owl her character. Make two outer circles and two inner circles. Before stitching the inner eye to the outer eye you need to embroider the owl's eyelashes. Using black yarn and a needle I embroidered the eyelashes using running stitch free-hand. Use the ridge from the last round of crochet as a guide. Sew in all the ends.

Stitch an inner eye off-centre to the larger circle and using the same colour yarn as the inner eye, attach to the outer eye with small running stitches.

Leave the eyes as they are until the beak has been made. You will attach all three at the same time.

Outer circle: rounds 1-5 of the pattern below
Inner circle: rounds 1-3 of the pattern below. (I made R1-4 for this owl, but Alice owl is R1-3 for inner circle).



Pattern for the eyes - remember to convert for US;UK dc is US sc, UK htr is US hdc.

Chain 5, slip stitch to form a ring

R1 - ch 2 (counts as 1 htr). Work 11 htr into ring, join with ss into top of first chain 2.

R2 - ch 2 (counts as 1 htr) 1 htr in first st, 2 htr in each st to end, join with ss into top of 1st ch 2.

R3 - ch 2 ( counts as 1 htr) 1 htr into 1st st * 1 htr into next stitch, 2 htr into next, repeat from * to last st, 1 htr into last st, join with ss into top of ch 2.

R4 - repeat R3

R5 - ch 2, 1 htr into each st to end, ss in top of ch 2

I have made a slight change to the moss stitch panels - work 48 rows not 44...

Next instalment: nose and ears!

I'll leave you with a little look at my latest crochet blanket... its slowly growing...



 

Monday, 22 July 2013

Crochet-a-long for Alice Owl - pattern part one


I designed Alice Owl as a doorstop... her belly is full of rice. She could of course be a bookend or you could fill her with polyester stuffing and have her as a cushion on the bed or sofa... She would make an adorable gift and she is very simple to make.

Alice Owl measures approximately 27 cms tall (excluding ears) x 27cms wide. I had to make a custom inner cushion and filled this with rice and polyester stuffing. You can of course make your owl bigger so that it fits a standard size cushion pad.

To get started making your own Alice Owl, here are the basic instructions for the base.

Firstly I used double knitting/8 ply yarn in various colours and a 3.5mm/E hook. It is necessary to make a firm base so the inner pillow does not show through when your owl is stuffed. I predominantly used Stylecraft special dk yarn which is acrylic, but this is a great project to use up your scraps.

The back and front panels were made using moss stitch. You will make two panels for the front and back of the owl.

HOW TO CROCHET MOSS STITCH

There are a lot of ends to sew in for each panel, but I like the tweed effect of moss stitch and like to change colour each row...
With a 3.5mm/E hook chain 61 stitches. This is the starting chain. Turn and begin the foundation row.

Foundation row -  Dc (US sc) in the third chain from the hook, chain one, skip one chain, dc (sc US) in the next chain, * chain 1, sk 1 ch, dc (sc US) in next ch*, Repeat ** to end. End with a dc (sc US).Turn. Change colour.

Row 1 - Chain 2, sk first st, dc (sc US) in ch1 sp from previous row, ch 1. Sk st and dc (sc US) in next ch 1 sp, ch 1. Repeat this pattern to end. In last ch sp make dc (sc US). Chain 1 and dc (sc US) to top ch of last ch 2 from previous row. Change colour. Turn. Chain 2.

Repeat row 1 until you have 48 rows. Change colour at the end of every row.

Sew in ends securely. Make two squares.

If you are a beginner and these instructions seem as clear as mud, go to Youtube and watch one of the videos demonstrating moss stitch. This will really help and you will realise that it is one of the easiest crochet patterns to make.

Part two:
 
Part three:
 
 
Flickr group: