Sunday, 30 December 2012

More Crochet on final day of 2012

So here we are at 00:48 on the last day of the year with a quickie blog before going to sleep as tomorrow - oops I mean to say Today-will be a long day.
Although I have a statistics assignment to be getting on with I was very happily distracted by crochet projects for the past few days. The first sleeve on the jumper was completed , but found to be toolong so I had to undo all the ribbing and 8 rows of sleeve and start again. That was done and I completed the first sleeve totally today and it's just the right length now, PHEW.
In fact just completed the aran plait rows on the second sleeve whilst enjoying Victoria Wood on Sky tv, SKY being JJ's present to himself and all of us.
Yesterday I had fun perusing the new copy of Inside Crochet - it has a superb Click Chunky cabled jumper for men - HOORAH for JJ I THOUGHT BUT NO HE DOESN;T LIKE IT-but I still needed a bit more inspiration and found interweave Winter 2013 at half price so that was today's joyful download. I found some really lovely patterns: TWO more really nice men's jumpers, one  a fisherman's rib lookalike...
And there was especially a scarf which looked sculptural and unusual so I had to have a go: LOOK?
 It's the snood/scarf in beige which buttons neatly with 5 pearl buttons. The stitch fascinated me.
So I stopped the JJ jumper and had a bit of a ''go'': holding two yarns of DK wool together and  5mm hook, two shades of pine green which were to hand as they were destined for the wreath I still haven't made.
 You start with the buttonholes, that's the 5 holes on the left. Then work in columns, which get connected every few loops.
 The button holes are quite neat though, eh?
 The loops are formed like broomstick but made from a multiple of long chained loops. LOVELY!

Now that was really fun, I do so love learning something new in crochet.
Yesterday- 30th- I spent hours and hours looking through all the cardigan and jacket CROCHET patterns on Ravelry, ALL of them, not just the free ones so it was over 400 st one point, then I filtered a bit as to technique or yarn or style. Such fun but a lot of time taken up. Many of the ones I liked were Lionbrand ones and some I had in the magazines: Crochet! , interweave crochet or Crochet Today.
CrochetME , the newsletter sent me some reminders about e-books so I spent a few hours downloading ALL the free e-books and there are many now so I would recommend that, there are many lovely patterns that have appeared in interweave crochet magazine in years past, but many haven;t dated at all.
It's worth subscribing to the CROCHETME newsletter. Access this at
Got to get some sleep, busy day later: some shopping, a new journal and socks are needed and am going dancing at a Hogmanay party near Milton Keynes so need to have all the foods for the party and the family ready.
Today was started in the best possible way even though it was raining torrential cats and dogs I attended Holy Communion at St Mary's yesterday morning at 8 am! ( Sunday 30th) . This was after getting up at 7 am- was shocked to find it was still dark- having slept a mere 4 hours 3 am to 7 am.....
Goodnight. Maybe c u later today.

PS Just have to add a last bit of excitement which happened when I bumped into an old friend- knitter - in Waitrose when we were buying party foods, she told me of a wool shop in Aylesbury called THREADBARE and I didn;t know about it until then! Oh my ! I can't wait to go have a browse but it isn't open until the 1st January when there'll be a knit and natter so guess who has plans to be there?!!!
Woopeee can't wait! What an excellent way to start 2013? And do not worry about the 13 bit, a Aunt of mine who was called MAY and called a chap called Day so she was MAY DAY : a really wonderful lady, well: her favourite and lucky number was 13!!!
She lived a long and happy life and was a true and loving inspiration.

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Yarn shops review and Shopping Heavens

 On December 8th we spent the day in London having caught the London Tube  from Oxford and leaving the coach at  Marble Arch. The girls loved the teenage shops such as River Island and Top Shop at which we all had a festive cupcake from Lola's pop up cake stall. When we had found their desired gifts from these shops on Oxford St, I ventured behind the crowds to the garment district to hunt for fur fabric and satin lining: this is shopping heaven for me: FABRICS! The cloth shop in Berwick St.
 Here are dozens of beaded laces in a variety of navy blues and in fact alll manner of hues. Or embroidered silks and satins, just look and see! I bought my cafe au lait or mink coloured satin lining here.
 A few doors down I found the compatible dark fur fabric I needed too and the girls found their shopping heaven in SPACE NK and Pixi Ltd, fancy make up and perfume shops.

 After this we met JJ for lunch at a little square off Carnaby St where I had found the infamous Candy Kittens from Made in Chelsea .Kingly Court is it's name. This time we had time to explore and I looked at all the shops on the 3 levels of the little arcade: on the third floor I found a WOOL SHOP!

 It's called'' all the fun of the fair'' and I bought some navy mohair there. It had a lovely selection and has an online presence too: It was LOVELY and even had the cute  rocheted tortoise tape measures that I would have bought if I hadn't done so already in St Andrews in July.

 We also discovered choccywoccydoodah and watched the tv programmes of the same name about the Brighton shop later on tv.

This is the mohair I bought there.

 Then later in December I went to a craft evening at a friends' house where we all sat and knitted/ crocheted/ embroidered while chatting and I heard of a local yarn shop in Bicester which I didn;t know about so I resolved to visit it asap. Which I did on 21st December. Parking was awful but the shop was fabulous with a huge amount of very varied stock and a helpful website:just google  Bicester Wools.
Now this again was a shopping heaven for me: so many yarns and such gorgeous colours!
And if you can't go in person they have an online shop too:
I bought some lovely angora wool in a rich rose red - I hope to buy more to make a shrug or cardigan jacket and some Rico Aran cotton which I have read much about but never seen the colours ''in the flesh'' as it were before. a red for holly berries for my Christmas wreath and some navy.

 I haven't quite decided on the stitch pattern for the angora yet. Still playing. It's divinely soft and fluffy.
For Christmas I was given two crochet books:
 Both from Hobby craft in Aylesbury: the snowflakes is really a motif book and quite a few could be made in colour and joined to make a lovely lace: the hexagons will tesselate easily enough.
 Then there's THIS AMAZING book which is actually a knitting book but which I discovered on amazon a while back and was fascinated by, I read the ''look inside''pages but was dying to have a proper look and the reviews were full of praise also. I like it because of the CONCEPTS and design ideas inside which I would like to translate into CROCHET of course.
 This yellow one reminded me strongly of a red crochet cardigan from Vogue Crochet- the one I have started in turquoise? I wanted more guidance as I may wish to adapt it a bit to suit me best. This book may help and offer more design ideas. It's TERRIBLY EXCITING!

This is the Vogue pattern.

And this was my first sleeve and 50% back panel way back in early December before I started on JJ's Christmas gift jumper.
So for the girls their shopping heavens are Boots ( big city ones), Mac, Pixi, Space NK and the Liberty perfume and make-up counters.
And for me it's shops which sell fabrics and yarns/ wools/ silks etc and bookshops with a good crochet/sewing/craft selection. It used to include Waterstones and the beloved Borders but neither of those qualify anymore, but Hobbycraft ( Aylesbury) does!

Boxing Day and Diagonal Box Stitch =Tumbling Blocks

 OK so we first catch up with the pudding on Christmas Day: fired up with rum and eaten with home -made vanilla ice cream from the ''SCOOP'' book made with M&S extra thick Devon double cream.
 Yumeeeeeee , there was 45% left over for a wee while but by bed -time -someone???- had eaten the lot.

 Boxing Day JJ kindly drove through heavy rain to mum's, but at 1 pm she was still in her dressing gown at said she did not feel well and did not want to come out for lunch so we went as the table was booked and we were hungry!
 Miss Y has an amazing burger, JJ Chicken Jalfrezi and moi a duet of mini meat pies.

 When we returned after lunch mum was dressed but grumpy so we stayed a little while and then went home.
Her hair cut was really nice and Miss Y did a lovely job of chatting away to her while JJ slept.
 I finished the new scarf for JJ in the car: VOILA!
 The middle bit is a ball of Sirdar Escape I had a few years ago and of which the colour was discontinued. See far below for how it was solo, worked up last year. I found similar colours- or so I thought - at Glynswood so bought two balls: same colour and dye lot: shade 187 and thought I could add one ball at each end to make a scarf. I had to undo the part I had as tumbling blocks works in diagonals and the section I had started with a straight edge. Then I re-stared with one of the new balls. Far left: 187 ball 1.
 The big surprise came at the end when the second ball of 187 had no similar stripes to the first ball at all!
Very unusual but it seems to have worked, the stripes are ALL different and change subtly but harmoniously.
JJ likes it and that's the best bit.

 Here at the far right is 187 ball 2.

I call is tumbling blocks and I had found a tutorial by Darlisa   Riggs online but today I also found the following links, tutorials and videos much better than my attempt yesterday to show how it works.
It's all in USA crochet terms so beware a dc is really a UK treble!
Here they are: useful links and pictures for you:

 This was my playtime sample in Spring 2012 of an old colour shown with the two new balls bought on 22 December. Both are shade 187 .Wool rich DK.

 3 BALLS of this using a 4.5 mm hook and 10 blocks across: make a scarf 20 cm by 140 cm. 
Cost about £10.50 plus a few evenings crochet time, but it's really fun because the colours keep changing and you never know what will come next.