Sunday, 30 April 2017

Another Birthday, Some new passions

This is more of a journal style update, no patterns or recipes.
Had a birthday, was at a dance which was also a party, had a rather drastic new haircut and been shopping for new clothes.
Have been feeling very blue a lot and not much crochet has been done for far too long and although there has been some sewing, I have not addressed the growing mess my fabric/ patterns/ wool/ craft materials stash creates in the ''home''.

I need to do this both because it's getting quite bad but also because I want to have a go at machine knitting again, it is something I used to do in the 1990's quite a lot. That was just before the tapestry work phase.

These are some of the lovely flowers I was given for my birthday...
My photo previews are not loading up properly and I have not noted down the numbers of each photo so I have to leave it here for today, bye bye
Have a good bank holiday weekend! May Morning in Oxford tomorrow and we'll be dancing in Radcliffe Square at 6 am!
So an early night for me then...

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Cabled COWL and adapted Earflap hat pattern in honour of the SNOW we have just had.

This is an adaptation and amended existing pattern so I will only describe the adjustments and then you'll need to acquire the pattern to do the rest but the cowl is all mine so a full pattern for this is below.
The hat started off as the Moonstone hat in the magazine ''Crochet now'' Issue 11.
Crochet now can be found on facebook, pinterest, instagram and issues can be acquired from

This is the original hat, the ribbed section did not work out for me, did not suit.

For the hat I have used 122 grammes of a smooth aran weight yarn ( UK terms), which I had lying around in my stash.
I followed the pattern to about row 15 except for stopping any increases by row 9 as my hat was getting too big for me  
and used a 5 mm hook throughout.

By row 9 the first truly pale green row in the hat above I have:
{1 front post treble ( slanting away from the inner shell pattern), 2 Trebles, 1 chain, 2 Trebles( this sequence is the inner shell pattern for this row), 1 front post treble/FPTR ( slanting)} this group is repeated exactly 12 times.
And that includes the the start of the row group which starts with a slanting 3 chain as the ending front post treble of a group before starting the next {..} group.
The groups form diamonds outlined by post trebles and with inners of shells which start small, increase and then decrease again.
In the green section the inner consists of 4 rows but after that all diamonds are only 3 rows long.

These 3 rows are defined by :
row 1 : FPTR, 1 Tr, 1 ch, 1Tr,1 FPTR
row 2: 1 FPTR, 2 Tr,1ch, 2Tr, 1 FPTR
row 3 : 1FPTR, 1Tr, 1ch, 1Tr,1FPTR. 
the adjacent diamonds decrease when the above increase and vice versa and that's all I think I can say.

I finished at 16 rows in navy on a widest inner diamnd row with the FPTRs sides of a diamind lying adjacent to the FPTRs of the next diamond shape.
These inner shells for the scallop border.

At the back I have  5 scallops clear I used 2 for the earflap, there are 3 scallops clear at the front and then there's the next earlflap across 2 scallops. ( 12 scallops in total).

Working the EARFLAP:
Over 6 rows I used 3 colours: deep green, pale green and pale blue.
Row 1 over 12 stst:
1dc, 1 HTR, 1HTR,1TR x 6, 1 HTR,1HTR,1dc and turn. each of these stitches is into one stitch, the 6 Tr are 1 treble in each stitch of the scallop ( NOT 6 in one st)

row 2: ch1, skip first st, dc in next stitch, ( 1FPTR,  1BPTR) 4 TIMES then a dc and a ch and slipstich to close row. the FPTR / BPTR is a standard ribbing pattern.
row 3 : pale green- attach yarn and work a dc, work the appropriate FPTR or BPTR to continue the ribbing pattern over the central  6 sts, then a dc and a ss to turn
row 4: 1 ch ( counts as dc), ribbing over 6 sts, dc in last stitch ans turn.

row 5 as row 4 but in pale blue.( 8 sts)
row 6: ch , then  dc 2  together , ribbing over central 3 sts, dc 2 tog and slip stitch to close.
Repeat for other earflap.

Finish: dc all around edges: round the scallop brim edge and around the earlflaps as one round, 1 loose dc in each stitch, tighter in the corners and loosely around the curve of the earflaps or add a few extra stitches so the edge stays lying neatly flat.

I made 2 size pom poms with the CLOVER pom pom maker: 6.5 mm for the top and 2 of 4.5 mm for the ends of the cords.

CORDS: these are 28 sts chained with 5 mm hook and then I have gone back up and down slip stitching all the way until I had a width/thickness I liked.
( 2-4 times)

Sew in ends, sew on the pom poms and attach the cords or if crocheted directly onto the hat, finish cords and attach pom poms to ends.


COWL: this weighs 142 grammes and measures  72 cm in the round and is 25 cm high.
There is scope to put a drawstring in the top edge if you want is more warm and snuggly than this.
Again I am just using remnants of aran yarn so I ran out of the blue and only had a little deep green left and this is seen in the repetition of the stripes.
It is almost the same aran and shell pattern but I wanted my diamonds crisper than in the hat where the FPTRs lie adjacent and then diverge again, I wanted mine to cross and make a neat point.

My cowl is 18 ROWS
the photo below is only a section of it the completed one is at the end.

Chain 986sts loosely,  or use  a 6mm hook , then change to 5mm and slip stitch closed to start the pattern

Set up ROW1:ch 3 ( counts as a TR), then work a TR in the next chain, now comes the repeating pattern: * skip 1 ch, work 2 Tr in the next ch, work a ch, work 2 Tr in  the next ch ( bigger shell made), skip 1 ch and work 1 Tr in each of the next 2 ch**.
Repeat 15 times until you have 16 large shells between lined of 2 Tr, you omit the last 2 Tr as the are at the beginning, close with SLIP STITH( ss).

ROW 2: ch 3 and work a FPTR round each of the 2 trebles in row below, work the 2 TR, 1ch 2Tr shell into the 1 ch space of the shell below, then work a FPTr onto the next treble and repeat that.
So you now have a large shell into the ch space of the same shell in the row below and all trebles are sanding proud and they now have FPTRs on them. Close with a ss, I prefer to hide the 3 ch and work FPTRs on all trebles that need it pushing the 3 ch to turn into the lining as it were, but you can count it as a stitch if you prefer.

ROW 3: ( this is where we start the slanting parts): 3 ch , 1FPTr round the 2nd treble,*** work a 1TR- 1 ch - 1 TR shell into the 1 ch chainspace and work  FPTR onto the next treble, NOW
working into the space between this and the next treble work a 1TR-1ch-1TR shell and then work the FPTR onto the next treble. This makes the FPTrS SLANT.
Then you repeat this all around and close with ss, You should have 16 complete repeats which are starting to look like standing triangles or wigwams?

ROW 4: THIS is where we make the POINTS!

Ch 3 and  start to work a FPTR onto t trble at the left side of an expanding section, i.e. a treble which slants to the left but do not FINISH the FPTR, before completion, part work a FPTR onto the adjacent treble slanting to the right and finish them together : an 2 FPTRTOG.
They will have a single v at the top showing the are joined stitches, 2 into 1.

then work a 2Tr-1ch- 2TR shell into the chainspace of the next shell ( the expanding shell section) and repeat the 2 FPTRTOG with the next 2 trebles. Repeat all around and you close with a ss and you will have 16 pointed wigwams?! With expanding diamonds starting up in between?

Now the pinted section of the triangle also signifies the widest part of the diamond section so these will now decrease and the slanting will go the other way.

ROW 5 is a repeat of row 3 except that you work the FPTRs round the peak of the wigwams and each 2 such FPTRs are separated by a shell: 1Tr- 1 ch-1 Tr which  is worked into the
 top v which joined the FPTRs, you have to look behind and dig a little but it's obvious enough?
the next shell 1Tr- 1ch-1Tr is worked into the ch sace of the bigger shells below, thus decreasing one diamond and starting others alongside.

Row 6 is like row 4 except you will see that the points are moved over a bit to create those defined diamond shaped spaces which are each filled with 3 rows of shells.
a small shell, a larger shell and then a small shell again.

And that's it.

Repeat until you like the height and finish or keep going , like I've stated mine is
 18 rows.

If you want to have it closed near the top, wear it upside down and chain a drawstring to be threaded through the ch spaces in the set up row?! A cordcan be threaded nicely between the paired trebles and through the shell chain spaces.

VOILA   I hope you like it and that this will keep you snug and warm this winter and many winters to come!

Friday, 27 January 2017

Beaded Kumihimo bracelet experiments: first the purple blues one.

This is a bracelet I made about 2 weeks ago  using the beaded KUMIHIMO technique.
The link explaining and showing you how is here below and I will explain how I made this bracelet with materials very readily available in the UK as the video is an American one.
Or search for elegant beaded bracelet CSL Kumihimo in YouTube and you should see it.
My materials are as follows:
 1.A  mini Kumihimo foam disc  by Bead Fairy - available from the Oxford Bead Shop or Amy Surman:

2. Puppets Eldorado #10 blue crochet cotton available from purple linda crafts online shop,
3. Gutermann tube of 28 g 9/0 rocailles colour 6690 the royal blue/purple ones with oil slick glaze effect
4. A beading needle with a very large eye- online or Amy Surman- they are sold in packs of 3 or 4
5. Craft Factory small box of 4mm e beads in purple- available in many haberdashery shops and Hobby -craft
6. a bulldog clip and small sandwich bag of  coins as a weight
7. Bracelet fittings- end caps , jumprings and fastener or magnetic end caps
8. Kumihimo snap close Bob EEZ  bobbins available on amazon or from spoilt rotten beads online.
You will need 8 of these or can use large clothes pegs but the bobbins are much easier to use and are sold in packs of 8.
9. E 6000 tube of jewellery glue

Now these materials will all make more than one bracelet and as in the glue, crochet cotton and the disc, weight and bobbins are tools and materials that have many many uses.

 Now to show I had made a few previous forays into beaded Kumihimo and plain braided Kumihimo:
I show some I made in previous years since our house near Paignton holiday.
The latest purple one is the unfinished braid at the front.
Here you can see the beaded braid- far right - and the leftover materials still strung on the bobbins.

This close up shows the stringing of the beads: it's either start with a 4 mm bead then 2 of the 9/0 gutermann rocailles then 4mm bead again and 2 Gutermann 9/0 again etc.
It's impartant to note that 4 strands are beaded starting with the 4mm bead followed by 2of  9/0 then
4mm again and 2 of 9/0 etc.
The other 4 strands start with the 2 of 9/0 and then the 4mm , followed by 2 of 9/0 and then 4 mm again and this is repeated.
I have small wrists so I made a beaded length of 14.5 cm and DO measure this when it is off the disc or without the weight on or you will find you think it is longer than it is!
I measured with the weight on while on the disc and had 15 to 15.75 cm!
But it retracted when it came off the disc so beware!

this shows the bead sequence for the stringing of the strands.

I have a small plastic bag full of old coins with a knot at the top which is tied to a bulldog clip.
I then use the bulldog clip to attach the coin bag(=weight) to the start point of the Kumihimo braid.

Shall we start?
Cut 8x70 cm lengths of the Puppets Eldorado cotton and tie them all together with an overhand knot near one end.
Pop that end through the hole in the disc and attach the bulldogclip.

Now string the beads onto each of the 8 strands in the 1 of 4mm bead, then 2 of 9/0 , then 1 of 4mm etc order ensuring you make 4 where the 4 mm bead is first and 4 where the 2 x 9/0 beads are first.
This is easiest using either a special large eye beading needle or you can stiffen the end of the cotton with nailvarnish, wait till it dries and use that to pick up the beads.
About 50 beads per strand should suffice for a small size bracelet, if you need a larger size use 60-80 beads per strand.

When you have strung the beads you wind each strand onto a bobbin, leaving about 20 beads exposed and about 15 cm of the cotton thread.
Up to this point it is similar to the video link I mentioned above.

AFTER this point if you wish to have the look I show with this purple bracelet then you have to arrange the strands differently from the video!

I actually discovered this because I did it WRONG but actually I like the effect it created !
So I have learned a NEW pattern.
Oh what a happy mistake.
THIS is how you set up your disc as per the diagram above in the photo.
So to the left of 32 you have a strand starting with a 4 mm, then to the right of 32 you have one starting with 2 9/0 beads and you keep alternating all the way around, setting strands up either side of 8 ( or E) , 16 ( or S), and 24 ( or W).

Then the bracelet is started with a stump of about 2 cm of just cord and NO BEADS , move a strand from bottom left to top left, then one from top right to bottom right, then do a quarter turn, by moving the bottom part of the disc to the right and upwards in an anticlockwise turn motion.

( see video)

After the 2 cm without beads you start adding the beads as per the video, use the 2 9/0 gutermann beads as if they are one bead, so always move 2 of those together.
BIG TIP: if you want to stop, answer the phone, the front door, stroke the dog or make a cup of tea/ coffee then do this:
that way you know where you are and can easily continue the move. If you don't do this and complete a move and then leave the work you may start at the wrong point and believe me you can see this in the beaded bracelet and will annoy you for ever more.

I learned this the hard way and it can be seen in my earlier bracelets which I am going to re-make!
So this above is what it should look like when you need to take a break.
except the 3 strands should be the ones vertical and at the bottom half.
The photo is rotated a quarter turn by mistake that's all.

This is a bit of the video on You Tube that I recommend you watch?

 Except the braid following my pattern will not be the triangular one she describes, that one will follow in the next post or so!
The beaded braid coming out of the disc nicely. Seen from below.

The beaded braid up close. effectively I think you bead the 4 mm - for 8 passes and then the 2 x9/0 for 8 passes and then the 4mm again.

This final photo shows the initial set up: the strand that starts with a 4 mm and the other type strand that starts with 2x 9/0.

I hope you have a go and let me know how you get on?

When you have your desired length you add another stump of non beaded cord by doing the braiding without beads for 2 cm then take it off the disc and do an overhand knot for all 8 strands.

Then you cut the strands above the knot.

I advise you to apply nail varnish to the stumps and then with the yarn threaded in a fine needle sew a few bands of thread over the stump until it fits the end caps neatly.

Sew the thread in with locking stitches and trim to fit the end cap fittings.
Do this for both ends.
Then put a small amount of E 6000 into the end caps and push the finished stumps into the caps.
Let set overnight.

Next morning/ day add the jumprings and hammer claw closure or whatever closure findings you have purchased from a jewellery making supplier.
Both Amy Surman and Spoiltrotten Beads as well as many others online offer many solutions for finishing the braids as a bracelet or indeed as a necklace ( you would need a lot more beads and cord for a necklace!)

See you again soon for a vertically striped beaded kumihimo bracelet or indeed a spiral striped one.