Molly’s stand-in

Meet Romeo from Kerry Lord’s book Edward’s Menagerie Dogs which Big Sis had on her bookshelf this summer. The crochet pattern said the loop stitches for the muzzle should be 6cm long but when I cut the loops, they neither seemed long enough nor to be enough of them (no photo unfortunately). Eventually I ripped it back and re-crocheted the muzzle area without any loop stitches, then added the beard as if I was hooking a rug. Once his eyes, nose, and ears had been added he looked more like the schnauzer he’s supposed to be and I was happy enough to give him as an early birthday gift to Molly‘s mum. I always intended him to be a kind of fun stand-in as it was possible that no pup would be available until next year but even though he’ll only be on stand-in duty for two weeks, I think Romeo will be a keeper. No insurance, vet, or food bills, no late-night necessary walks, no groomer costs, what’s not to love?

lavender sachet

I wanted to make a lavender-filled sachet as a small gift for a friend but didn’t want to just do a plain old square or rectangular shaped one. (Why would I do something the easy way when I can complicate it instead?!) After discarding two sachets made from an internet pattern which made aligning and positioning the bird embroidery a problem, I devised a pattern of my own. I’d love to be able to tell you that this little pyramid smells wonderful but as this was a prototype for my pattern, it’s currently filled only with rice. (I actually don’t have any lavender but it’s now on my ‘to buy’ list for my next retail therapy day which happens to be tomorrow.) The cord is about twenty thicknesses of the same thread used for the free-motion embroidery and construction, crocheted into a length of simple chain. I can think of all sorts of embroidery ideas for these so there might be a few more on the horizon.





Hobbes is my all-time favourite cartoon animal. He and Calvin were yesterday’s stitchy piece with thanks to Bill Watterson for giving me such a fab creature to stitch. Approximately 4″ x 3″ on the usual bog standard calico using no.16 Finca crochet perle cotton and no, I don’t know what I’ll do with this piece either!


the first of many?

My first tatted ring! I wasn’t able to buy a tatting needle yesterday but today I came across a tatting help sheet on the internet showing a tunisian crochet hook being used, so I tried that and I could put the stitches on okay but I couldn’t ‘crochet’ them off to make a basic ring. Then I remembered I had something that was close in form to a tatting needle inasmuch as it has an eye at one end and is consistent in diameter the whole length but minus the hook at the other end. I’ve no idea how or why I acquired it or what it was designed for but I tried it out and hey presto! I’ve got me a tatted ring! The cotton I used is what I bought to tie up joints of meat so it’s not what’s normally recommended for tatting but for practising, it’ll do just fine.




If you know what this metal rod thingy is meant to be used for, please let me know!




I watched a video through a mirror this morning so that I could better follow the instructions as a left-handed tatter and suddenly I wasn’t getting tied up in knots. Well, not quite so many granny ones as when I tried the right-handed way. Strangely, I crochet as a right handed person because that’s how big sis taught me and it feels right so it’s never really occurred to me to learn to do it left-handed.




creative block

I finished the crochet throw in time for Ms P’s birthday which was last week and since then I’ve been lacking inspiration (or motivation – I can’t decide which) for a new project. I’ve been doing a lot of tidying and sorting which is all good but hasn’t led to anything craftwise.

When I was working, I always seemed to have loads of ideas for things I wanted to make and finding the time to do them was the difficulty. Now it’s the other way round. Is this creative block?  If so, how to deal with it? Lots of advice out there on the web no doubt. Perhaps I need to think out of the box. Make a list. Do something completely different. Make another list. Visit a craft shop or two. Don’t do anything remotely craft related for a week. (No, can’t quite see that one working.) Get the Bernina repaired and then if quilting or machine embroidery becomes the project of choice, I’ll be able to start on it right away. (The 6th months old Bernina has been making knocking noises for a while so it’s going back to the shop this week.)

The trick about having a creative block I suppose is not to let it worry me and just ‘go with the flow’ until that leads me somewhere more productive. Until then, or until I find something else to post about, the following photographs are of Ms P’s throw, the sunrise a few days ago, and an animal hair brush which I use to gather thread ends and woolly strands, and dislodge tiny runaway beads from my workroom carpet when I can’t be bothered to drag that smug-faced vacuum cleaner out of the cupboard. I wouldn’t be without this little brush these days – it’s a brilliant piece of kit.



Double Shell trim

Double shell trim

I found this in Betty Barnden’s Handbook of Crochet Stitches, published by Search Press.
British version
Row 1: 5CH, [1DTR, 3CH, 1DTR] in 5th ch from hook, turn
Row 2: 3CH, skip first dtr, 9TR in 3ch sp, skip 1dtr, [1DTR, 3CH, 1DTR] under 4ch at beginning of row 1, turn
Row 3: 3CH, skip first dtr, 9TR in 3ch sp, skip 1drt, [1DTR, 3CH, 1DTR] in space before next tr, turn
Repeat row 3 to length required.


American version
Row 1: 5CH, [1TR, 3CH, 1TR] in 5th ch from hook, turn
Row 2: 3CH, skip first tr, 9DC in 3ch sp, skip 1tr, [1TR, 3CH, 1TR] under 4ch at beginning of row 1, turn
Row 3: 3CH, skip first tr, 9DC in 3ch sp, skip 1tr, [1TR, 3CH, 1TR] in space before next dc, turn
Repeat row 3 to length required.

double shell trim

I like them, thank you!

A daily routine for me is to check my google emails (none), check my yahoo emails (all adverts or spam), read the latest posts of blogs I follow and then check my own blog to see if anyone’s had a browse. Most days no-one has but this morning I almost jumped out of my seat when I saw a WordPress notification that I’d had 100 likes! Yikes! At first, I thought it was 100 likes for my post about the health benefits of Sauvignon Blanc but it actually referred to the blog itself and I was suddenly quite relieved. Had they all been for the SB post, they would have been unwarranted. I mean, getting a ‘like’ is a bit like being given a credit, isn’t it? And since I didn’t actually write the piece myself, I would have been taking 100 credits for what someone else wrote.  I have never thought any post of mine was good enough to get anywhere near 10 likes never mind 100, but  collecting ‘likes’ is not what I began this blog for.

Contemplative pause here to try to remember just why I did begin blogging……..
It might have been because it seemed that ‘everyone else’ was doing it and I was curious to see if I could do it too. It might have been because I thought someone out there might actually read and enjoy my blog. Perhaps I just wanted to knock on the door of the blogging world and see if anyone would acknowledge my existence (and thanks to those of you who did!). Perhaps it was all of those things and more but no matter what the reasons, I’ve enjoyed the journey so far and can’t think of a reason to stop. I like sharing my crafty things and posting photos and if you credit me with an occasional ‘like’ or two, that’s good too. Thanks to all of you who’ve given me a ‘like’ so far. I hope you’ll continue to like what I post!

I don’t normally wear fussy necklines but I thought this dull cardigan neckline needed something to brighten it so last night I crocheted a length of double shell trim for it.


access unavailable

I always claim not to be joined at the hip to the internet but when the connection goes down as it did again this week, I realise just how much I miss it when it isn’t available.  After three and a half days of failed attempts at re-establishing our connection to the wider world, it was time to bite the bullet and replace the router. It took hardly any time to get the new one up and running and all is well once more except that I am no longer able to print anything unless I use a cable to connect printer with laptop. JP on the other hand is still able to print wirelessly…

Apart from remembering how much fitter I was when information gathering meant regular long walks to the local library and communication between friends and family involved paper, a pen, an envelope and a stamp, plus a walk to the post box, I’ve been making a few more Christmas decorations, finishing one crocheted scarf and beginning another and trying but not yet succeeding, in narrowing down ideas for a quilt project. Something that must take priority however, is finding a suitable pattern for the lovely mohair boucle wool that I received yesterday from Moonpenny. Gloves or socks perhaps?

avoiding the flares

The following is what happens when you tell someone that you’ll make them something you’ve never attempted before.

All I wanted to do was crochet a simple flat beret of the sort that French men are seen wearing when riding a bike and carrying onions and long sticks of bread although I’m not sure if they actually still do/did. Anyway… I didn’t want any fancy stitch combos in the pattern, surmising that crocheting in the round would tax my powers of concentration enough. How difficult could it be?
I selected a pattern which I could understand and followed it carefully but **by the time I’d gotten to the decrease stage, what should have been as flat as a vinyl record looked more like a rah rah skirt. No matter how much I pulled and stretched it, I could not eliminate the waves so I unravelled it back to just before the start of the flaring and tried again. **
Now repeat from ** to ** several times then rip it back completely and look for another pattern.
The second pattern choice was no better so I repeated from ** to ** several times more. I was now on my fifth or sixth attempt and thoroughly fed up. Had I not promised Miss P a beret, I might have run off there and then to gratefully donate my crochet hooks to a charity shop, promising myself to avoid crochet and crochet related pattern/blog/website for the rest of my life.
After an hour or so I decided I had nothing to lose by attempting to crochet the beret without a pattern of any sort. I began with six double crochets (UK) in a magic circle, increasing as and when I thought it was needed and as long as it continued to lay flat, I just kept on crocheting until it was of sufficient diameter. This ‘pattern’ worked best of all and the finished product does resemble a beret. I even gave it a little stalk like the French berets have. I’m quite pleased with it but that might just be relief that it does resemble what I had originally intended. More importantly, Miss P says she likes it. I hope she wasn’t just being kind… Beret anyone?

more crochet

A lot of last week was spent crocheting. A beret for Miss P was the first item but there was just too much slouch in it so that will be remade. Miss P didn’t mind the crocheted scarf I had also made, but there’s not much that can go wrong when crocheting a scarf is there? I’ve asked for head measurements before I start on beret v2!
Next up was a crocheted sphere. The idea being that if it was as easy to make as the pattern suggested, I could turn them out by the shed load for Christmas tree decorations. As you can see from the image, that won’t be happening any time soon. Once stuffed, the shapes revealed their true form – anything but spherical and the larger one definitely looks as if it’s been sat on…
The final crochet attempt was a snowflake, but I haven’t blocked it yet and I’ve never seen a blue snowflake so I don’t suppose that will end up as a tree decoration either.
What do we call gloves that only have the tips of the fingers and thumb missing? I’ve always known them as fingerless gloves but strictly speaking, they’re not, are they? Whatever they are, (tipless gloves?), they’re what I next attempted as a solution for cold hands while I sit at my laptop of a chilly morning. I won’t be making the second glove for several reasons – I ran out of those colours (fortunately!), it feels strange not having the tips of my fingers covered and the finger stalks are too long (I can feel the cast-off row against the mouse). This was was an excellent exercise as I had not knitted gloves on two pins before but I think I still prefer them knitted on four pins – no seams to sew badly!