Monday, 17 November 2014

Knitting & Tatting

We're getting into cold and miserable weather season…  lots of rain too!  This means it must be time for a bit of knitting.  I went back to the knitting group on Saturday morning - I had not been since before the summer holidays.  I had a lovely time knitting and chatting with the ladies.

I still have my Fair Isle Cardigan on the needles but as the group is held in a knitting shop, it's only fair I be knitting from wool I bought from the shop so I decided to start another project for knitting on Saturdays.  I had a Debbie Bliss pattern I'd been planning to make for a while so I got started on that once I spotted the perfect colour of wool for me… a gorgeous teal in pure wool.

The stitch is double-moss which give a really nice textured fabric but it's time-consuming!  It's like knitting a whole cardigan in ribbing.  I hope I don't regret my choice...

AND… I have only 7 repeats left to complete the butterfly doily!  Really nearly there.

Best wishes,

Saturday, 8 November 2014


This Sunday is Remembrance.  I normally always purchase one of the paper poppies that are sold by the Royal British Legion whose work supports service men, women, veterans, and their families.

I bought one this year too and made a donation.  But I took it apart and kept just the centre to use in my special tatted poppy I will be wearing this year.

You may remember I started it this summer and had most of the elements completed.  Tonight I tatted the last leaf and put it together.

This beautiful poppy design is the work of Jennifer Williams and can be found here.

Jennifer's pattern is very comprehensive and explains how to make all the different parts and how to assemble it.  I didn't quite follow all of it (mostly the assembly bit) as I decided to use the centre from the paper poppy since I didn't have the right size black button or any floristry wire.  I also didn't make the stamens in the end as I was happy with the look of the centre with the black "button" and beads all around.

Here's just the centre with beads
I will very probably re-do the centre properly at a later stage
but for now, the plastic centre got me out of a fix!

Jennifer also used floristry wire on the leaves
but, again as I didn't have any, I sewed my leaves to the back of the poppy.

See how the pattern even includes a calyx
although you don't see it from the front.

I used my 1SSCMR technique to make the pointy tip on the leaves
instead of a picot as in the pattern.

The picots on the edge of the petals face both ways alternately
to achieve the "frilly" appearance.

I think this is a gorgeous poppy pattern and one I highly recommend.  My thanks to Jennifer Williams for creating and sharing it with us.

"Lest We Forget…"

Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red

The poppy display at the Tower of London.
We went to see it.
It was amazing.
It was moving.

Best wishes,

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

38 Down, 18 To Go!

I am pleased to have finally got around to picking this up again.  It was a shame to have done all that work on it and then to leave it abandoned for so long…

If I'm honest, it's not my favourite design which probably explains why I didn't rush to complete it.  There are LOTS of chains and tiny rings which means that it has a tendency to "misbehave".  I've tried to press it as I went to keep it in shape but I can see it will be a nightmare to wash!

Also, if it was me, I would have made the butterfly motif with just two little rings at the top rather than three.  I know it's a stylised butterfly but it would have looked more "butterflyish" with either two small rings (for the tip of antennae) or one small ring with long picots (for a head with antennae).  Don't you think?

Still, I can finally see the end in sight of this really long-term project (I can't find the original post at the moment but I think I started this - I'm embarrassed to say! - two years ago?)  I now have 38 of the last round butterflies completed and 18 more to go.

Best wishes,

Friday, 31 October 2014

31st of October

The blanket is done!  It seemed like a really long-term project when I started this a few months ago (in July).  My son had asked for this blanket to be even longer than the first one I'd made (the granny square one) so the strips had 100 repeats.  The finished blanket ended up measuring 175cm x 140cm, plenty enough to cover two people sitting cosily on the sofa together.

I tried to use up every last bit of wool I had.  I had some dark blue left over after finishing the strips so I used that to crochet four more rows of squares all around the blanket and then added a little colourful edge by making one more row of single crochet in olive green and one in turquoise.  I think that finishes it off nicely.

I like the nice scalloped shape that you get with these strips…
more zig-zag than scallop even!

And today of course is...

Halloween!  This is not as popular in Europe as it is in America and there will be no trick-or-treating where we are at the moment, but I still like to celebrate it in a small way… and my particular favourite thing is pumpkin-lanterns.

We brought a couple of small pumpkins with us... but were delighted to be offered two giant pumpkins by our farmer neighbour!  The colours and shapes are wonderful.  One of them as been cut by now and made into soup and will also be made into potato-carrot-pumpkin mash tonight… and there will still be loads left!

We continue to enjoy beautiful warm weather today - hardly feels like autumn at all.  The other project I took with me is this very long standing WIP:  the butterfly doily.  I've not touched it for months and months!  But now I've picked it up again, I'm making good progress.  Only showing you a little bit of it, I'll save the full view for when it is finally completed!

To finish, here's one of my pumpkin-lanterns:

Happy Halloween!

Best wishes,

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Aaah… Holidays!

It's school half-term at the moment and beautiful autumn weather… still warm, sunny days with just a little cool breeze.  I took a few projects with me on my hols, one of them is the crochet blanket I started a while ago - do you remember?

 Crochet in the morning...

Crochet at sunset…

Crochet by the fire…

I'm not doing ONLY crochet of course (some tatting too!).   But it's also time for invigorating forest walks, bicycle rides, collecting chestnuts to roast on the fire at night, leisurely meals with a little glass of wine…


Best wishes,

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Vintage Square - Take Two

I tatted the little square again.  With two shuttles this time instead of with shuttle and ball as in the previous version.  It worked out much better for me.  I didn't have trouble with gaps between the corner rings as Ninetta mentioned when she tried it with two shuttles (see her comment in previous post).  I tatted this FS/BS and attached all three rings where they meet on the inside.

I like it a lot.
A perfect little square.

Shall I try it again with traditional tatting?  Not FS/BS?  Just out of curiosity and for the sake of experimentation.  I sometimes feel like I treat tatting not only as an art… but as a science too!  All options to be tested.  :-)

Best wishes,

Sunday, 19 October 2014

In The Pink

Ah, squares.  Love them.  Found this one on Ninetta's blog.  She made a collar based on this little square design.

Intestingly, she made it with just one shuttle and ball.  I tried it as she suggested and the result is not bad but I did wonder if it would still not be easier to make it with two shuttles.  For me there is a little bit of twisting going on where you would have switched shuttles though I must admit it's not too visible on the finished motif.  The one thing that is noticeable though is that I forgot to join the last chain to the starting one!

I think I'll try it again with two shuttles, just to see.

And as we're talking squares, here are some shortbread biscuits I just made.  I'd been looking for a long time for just the right recipe - they have to have that perfectly crumbly texture, that's how I like them.  I tried many different recipes but they were never quite right.  Then last week, I tasted some at a family gathering and thought they were just great.  I was sent the recipe and gave them a try.  Very happy with how they've turned out.  At last, I think I found the recipe I'd been looking for!

Do you like shortbread?
Join me for a cuppa and a biscuit?

Best wishes,