Friday, 23 June 2017

Crochet Raffia Hat

I would hate to just make blankets, or just knit socks or just make scarves. For me, crafting is about trying everything out there.

 Here's a new one - crocheting with raffia. Not just any old raffia this is a strong material made specially for crochet because it does not break. For my Minerva make this month, I thought I would try it out.

I am making a summer hat. I am not good at wearing a hat in the summer, I have thick hair, but one with a good brim would be fabulous for sitting in the garden to read, stitch or crochet.

I got stuck on row 24 but realised I had a pattern reading error with brackets and sorted the problem by searching Ravelry and finding out that somebody else had done exactly the same thing!

As I made it I kept trying it on. It looked like a floppy, wobbly, child's hat. I was getting disheartened but persevered.

I tied it off and decided I needed to really block it well.

I blocked it and sprayed it with laundry starch. It was better but still not right. As a last resort I painted it in PVA glue and put it in the sun to dry. YAY! it worked...

I made a plaited braid to add a finishing touch. I am really pleased with the final result even though it required some problem solving to get it to the shape I wanted. 

My Three Top Tips

Crochet one or two rows at a time - the raffia is hard on your hand muscles to pull it through the crochet loops.

Stiffen the hat with PVA glue on the upper and lower brim only not the crown which remains soft and comfortable

Add a plaited braid to complete the hat.

 I love to learn new things and crochet with raffia was a useful skill to learn. It even traveled well inside my suitcase to take on holiday, popping back into shape on arrival.

Jo xxx

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Scrap busting Annie Blanket

The girls have a wonderful Brownie Leader who plans fantastic activities every week for the group of girls. Sadly for us but happily for her. She is leaving to have a baby so I thought it was another great chance to get at those yarn scraps, especially the 'brownie' inspired ones. I pooled some from my mum too.

There was a bit of a varied range of thickness but I thought I could make it work with the Annie Blanket pattern from Boho Crochet using a 4mm hook.

I cast on 150 chains and started working the pattern. It was looking a little dull and needed an injection of colour.

One evening I had a rare Gin and Tonic which inspired a hint of mustard yellow to lift the colours.

The largest ball of blue was an aran or chunky so I used this solely for the border on a 4.5mm hook. It framed it really well.

It is not huge but will make a great car seat or pram blanket. The pattern calls for 100 chains but others on ravelry said it was too small that is why I went for 150 as a start (any number divisible by 3 would work)

So a small blanket inspired by the colours of Brownies and Guides in the UK. I have hardly made a dent in my yarn stash although the pile in the first picture is pretty much gone. I have not bought any yarn this year but I have so much left to play with. My pledge to not buy materials is going well. Woohoo!

Jo x

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Wonderful Weekend

We have had a wonderful packed weekend. Sheep, camp out, den building, wild food, sunshine, a festival, dancing and relaxing.

On Friday we went straight up to the cabin to meet a guy to shear the hebridian sheep. Bloke caught them, Ben sheared them and I wrapped the fleece. It was hot. 

I sloped off and got a meal together in the cabin and we settled down to our usual evening cabin activities: eat, clear up, watch the fire, chat, go on the rope swing and crochet (thats's just me obviously!)

In the morning I crocheted some more sat in the field listening to radio 4 while the girls continued to work on their den building. Our dog was enjoying his first time off the lead at the farm. He did not disturb the sheep, he was just curious.

Big Sis picked elderflowers for making cordial

For someone who has made most things in life including jam, wine and faggots, it seems strange that I have never made Elderflower cordial. It was very easy to make.

At night our town had its annual music festival. We met friends, went to the fair on the waltzers, drank beer, watched fireworks and danced to a fantastic Oasis tribute band called Definitely Might Be.

On Sunday we returned to the festival where Big Sis was dancing with her class mates.

Sunday afternoon was definitely a time for relaxing in our deckchairs in the garden playing cards. This is how Little M holds her cards, in a bulldog clip, it works really well if you have little ones.

What a weekend! 
Hope you had a good weekend too. 
Jo xxxxx

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Denim Jacket Stitching

You may recall I said I do not do a lot of stitching but when I do, I fall in love with it and with this project I fell in love, bought new tea towels and moved in with the guy.

This is my daughter in case you think I have lost a terrific amount of weight! She is over the moon with her jacket upcycle I did a few weeks back. 

I used the rest of the magic sheet from DMC to mark out the dream catcher design which I can not claim as my own. It is from Craftsy here. I got stitching and couldn't stop. It was finished in three days.

I did a loft rummage last month to swap the girls clothes over. The older sisters clothes were passed down to the younger sibling and in a bag I found lots of clothes aged 9-10 years which I had forgotten about. They were from my friend with three older girls. They were perfect for Big Sis (good job I found them in time)and in it was this virtually new denim jacket from Zara Kids.

I did use a few more stitch techniques than in the original design. I used some gold threads to make chains to hang the feathers from and I remembered how to do french knots. You've gotta LOVE it.

She wore it to a birthday party. Nine girls all going out for Pizza. Oooh, she is getting a big girl.

My own sixteen year old denim jacket beckons... now where are those threads.

Jo xxx

Monday, 12 June 2017

Sampler Quilt 10 - Hexies by hand

The good thing about making a combination of machine and hand sewing quilt blocks is that you can do some on the move and some at home. These hexies have been following me around for a while in a little craft bag - perfect for crafting on the go.

I have mentioned before but I will say it again and again one of the most coveted craft tools I own is a sewline glue pen. It is a temporary glue stick for attaching the papers to the fabric. Stick, fold over the edges and sew. It makes paper piecing a joy not a chore.

Once trimmed to 12 x 12" I did a row of stay stitching on the machine to stop it coming apart after this picture - you live and learn!

Another one for the sampler quilt. Few more to go then I am going to start joining them for a riot of colour.

Jo xxx

Linking up with Sum of their stories for Handmade Monday. A great blog with a variety of crafts and inspirational makes.

Friday, 9 June 2017

Wool and the Gang Cosmic Sweater

I have been sent a beautiful kit to try from Wool and the Gang. On first glance at their website the styles did not seem to be for me aged 40+ but as I looked more carefully at the shapes rather than the styling I found lots which I wanted to try. The first being the Cosmic sweater.

This one is a soft cotton pullover perfect for a summer knit. The shapes are simple and it comes together really quickly. 


It should be worn as reverse stocking stitch but there is something inside a fervent knitter like me that means that I can not bring myself to wear it appearing inside out, fashionable or not!

Anyway it looked great the other way too. The 100% Peruvian cotton is so soft on bare arms and it has a fabulous drape because you knit it on big needles.

Here, I have just got off the boat in St Tropez and it was the perfect companion for a breezy sea crossing.

I am already knitting my next kit. Here I am in the uncanny postion of wearing WATG while knitting WATG back at the campsite. I am joining in the #makealong with Wool and The Gang to showcase their new yarn, Tina Tape.

Oooh! I do love to knit...
Thanks for stopping by.
Jo xxxxxx

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Happy Colours Blanket Hooray!

I rarely stick to a pattern; that would require me to purchase the correct materials. So this project was inspired by The Happy Colours Blanket from the book Boho Crochet by Marinke Slump.

 I made 24 squares and could see that I was going to run out of white. Not wishing to purchase another ball I decided to make some solid colour ones to use up the yarn I did have. It was a no brainer for me, I am flexible, not a perfectionist.

I think it just makes it happier!

Some of you have asked how the pattern and crochet is so neat in these motifs. You have good reason to ask you observant crafters because I use a technique called a standing treble. I have adapted a photo to show you why I do it and indeed why you should learn it if you are a crocheter.

The black arrow indicates the chain 3 which is used to start the first round. When I inspected the picture I could see it there all skinny and long. I could also count the 11 trebles in the rest of the first round which all look the same as each other and are a little fatter.

Now, if every time I start a new colour in that same place with three chains I would end up with a skinny line of chains which don't quite bulk out as much as trebles. This is where the standing treble comes in. So after the blue round I cast off. Then joined the green in a new place using a standing treble which you can learn here on a blog called Moogly. The tutorial is in photos or as a mini video. It is also shown for left handers.

The green arrow shows it, it was harder to find for various reasons. a) it is a bit fatter and b) you can join in anywhere. This avoids an obvious line where the colour is always joined. Green is then cast off at the end of the round.

The red arrow shows where the red was joined but this was hard to find as well.etc. etc. In fact I could not see which was the first stitch in the white round so I left it unmarked because I think you get the gist now of what I am trying to show you. Suffice to say that if I can't find it and you can't see it, it must be a great technique.

Try it. It works on granny squares or any place you need to change colour. It is a technique you will be glad you took an hour or so to learn.

I used a bamboo hook from DMC to make this and it was surprisingly good. Lightweight and snag free on these stylecraft yarn scraps. These are the ones I did not use - maybe another project for those..

The border is made using a row of double crochet in white, trebles in green, double crochet in mustard, trebles in blue and finally that blanket border favourite of mine - crab stitch creating the fine rope border.

Baby Blanket all done ready for my friend in December and I will also put it in our local craft show in September.

It is, what it says it is - A Happy Colours Blanket.

Jo x