Saturday, 30 March 2013

Happy Easter !!!


The blossom hasn't come out on the branches I cut for my Easter tree. In fact I think I may have killed them.


I've cut another branch and added a bit more pussy-willow. The mother tree in the garden is fine.


Never mind.

I'm looking forward to spending tomorrow with the children, and, AND hubby is working locally so is able to pop home in between gigs so we can be together for a family dinner, yay!!!

I hope you and yours have a wonderful weekend whatever you are up to,

'till next time....
       

The pattern for the fancy crochet eggs ( the main 2 in the 2nd picture down ) is a Jane Crowfoot pattern published in issue 3 of Simply Crochet.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Welcome...


I'm waiting for the blossom to flower on the branches I cut from the garden for my Easter tree. I thought the process would be accelerated by bringing into the warm house, but no. I can't wait for the pretty pale pink flowers to open on the branches and compliment my crocheted eggs, bringing spring into our house and completing my display. I will have to wait, Mother Nature will work in her own time. I can appreciate that. I did buy some pussy-willow from the market today and added four sprigs to the display to add a bit more interest.


In the meantime I would really like to welcome my new followers who have joined recently. Thank you all for reading my nonsense and I hope I can keep you amused, informed and inspired by my musings and makes. 


I do like to reply to any comments that are left by visiting your blogs or sending messages if possible. If I have missed any I do apologise, and please forgive me if it takes me a while to get back to you as having 4 children (well 5 if you include my husband) means I'm very busy and a bit forgetful ( I use this excuse for EVERYTHING!)



I will leave a reply right after the comment if no other way but I know this means you have to come back and visit again to read it ( sometimes there is a tick box as an option to follow further comments on the post by email notification, but I haven't a clue if mine has that option as some do, some don't)

But I appreciate your visit, enjoy your comments and love the new-found, positive and welcoming community I have discovered since starting this blog.

I do hope I can bring you some photos of my Easter tree as it is kinda pretty, even without the blossom ( but that will make it soooo much better)
but in the meantime....


.....choccy egg anyone???

'till next time....
     

PS visit the generous and amazing Sandra at her blog for the brilliant Easter basket tutorial I used to make my egg basket.

PPS I couldn't think of any eggstra jokes for this post, lol - GROAN!!!!!

Sunday, 24 March 2013

How do you like your eggs in the morning?




I like mine with bobble hats on!!

Yarn: Stylecraft Special dk in colours: spring green, candyfloss, lemon and sherbet
Hook: 3.5mm
Inspiration: I spied a picture on Ravelry that linked to Annaboo's House blog where there is a tutorial for similar (and loads of other great things)

These are my stitches:
Round 1: chain 2, 11 half trebles into ring, slip stitch into top of 2 chain (12 stitches) Tighten magic ring.

Round 2: chain 2, half treble in same stitch, half treble in next 2 stitches, 2 half trebles in next stitch. Continue round in this pattern of 2 half treble stitches followed by 2 half trebles in one stitch all around. Slip stitch into top of chain to close round. (16 stitches)

Round 3: chain 2, half treble in same stitch, half treble in next 3 stitches, 2 half trebles in next stitch. Continue round in this pattern of 3 half treble stitches followed by 2 half trebles in one stitch all around. Slip stitch into top of chain to close round. (20 stitches)

Round 4: chain 2, half treble in same stitch, half treble in next 4 stitches, 2 half trebles in next stitch. Continue round in this pattern of 4 half treble stitches followed by 2 half trebles in one stitch all around. Slip stitch into top of chain to close round. (24 stitches)

Round 5: chain 2, half treble in same stitch, half treble in next 11 stitches, 2 half trebles in next stitch, half treble in next 11 stitches. Slip stitch into top of chain to close round. (26 stitches)

Round 6: chain 2, half treble in each of the stitches (no increase). Slip stitch into top of chain to close round. (26 stitches)

Round 7: chain 1 (does not count as stitch), double-crochet all around (no increase - 26 stitches) Slip stitch into first dc to close round.

Fasten off, deal with the ends.

And don't forget your pom-poms!

I have some little plastic discs I bought from here to make mine but you can just wrap about 8m of yarn around 2 fingers, gently pull off your fingers and tie a knot around the middle so it looks like you have a little bow-tie. Cut the loops and fluff up the pom-pom. Trim it to make it a bit rounder, over the bin 'cos it makes a mess!
Using a darning needle, thread your tie ends of the pom-pom through the centre of the magic ring and secure.


stand around for a little chat.

'till next time....
      

Friday, 22 March 2013

Paint, sandpaper and a stash bust.....

The story begins with this stool I bought from Ikea many moons ago that I use to sit at my industrial sewing machine. The half-hearted paint job I gave it at first was very poor and after being used as a decorating step ladder type thing it was covered in bizarre messes and looked quite sorry for itself.


so I reckoned it was about time I showed it some love and with a piece of crochet I made yonks ago while I was practising the African flower crochet that I considered suitable for a cover, I bought some pink paint and was ready for 'the makeover'.


I don't like painting, especially woodwork, but I tried my best to do a proper job, rubbing down with various grades of sandpaper in between coats for a smooth finish and I was happy enough with the result. Here is the said stool making it's d├ębut appearance in the supporting role to Carols doily.


While painting, the manky stool situated in my baby daughters room came to mind. Also from Ikea this one I'd covered in absolutely awful brown wood stain and made a brown velour pad for the seat. It was one of 4 that went with a square table , again from Ikea, that I bought when I was on my own and was too poor to buy any thing decent. (violins) I have no idea where the rest of the set has gone but the little stool was the only thing to remain. Sorry no photo - far too hideous.
I had ( and still have) paint leftover so down came the stool for it's own transformation.


this is it painted and me checking to see how many more rounds I needed to do on the granny-square cover I was making from the left-over yarn of my Rainbow Ripple blanket.
Because this stool already had the pad made and I was just re-covering I used the same method of 'attachment', namely stick and sew Velcro. And yes, quite unbelievably I did paint around the existing Velcro rather than peeling it off to replace with new, lol.


The cover is made with a basic granny-square to the size of the foam, then rows of half-trebles for the side bits (I keep wanting to call these bits gussets, is that right?) It involved stitching all around with no increase at the corners and then a bit of decreasing in the next 2 rows, the last row being dc to get it to the correct width.





You can see how this makes the corners curl up, and so it fits nicely around the foam pad. 
And the ends, those pesky ends! I weaved them in one direction, then the other and if I had enough length I would go a bit in yet another direction so when little bottoms wriggle around on the seat they (hopefully) won't poke out, fingers crossed.



You can see from the above pictures how the Velcro is sewn on the pad lining and how it attaches to the stool. The crochet part is hand-sewn to the lining.

Meanwhile, back to my left over ripple yarn (Rico Design Creative Cotton) I had made a few little granny-squares with the idea of making a cushion, so of course it went well with the stool and was a match made in heaven!





I was very good and made sure I put an opening in this cushion, the button detail an idea from the super talented Sharron at Annie's Place. I did take my time and sew the buttons securely so they don't come loose and get swallowed!


Plain white back for some calming therapy.



A perfect addition to my little baby's room, so cute and colourful. Rather pleased with this one me is :-)




As for the first stool and cover idea I have decided to leave it as it is as I prefer the simplicity of the painted stool. The crochet piece can just be as it is and I won't turn it into a cover - not feeling it now.

Congratulations if you have read all the way down to this point, quite a long post for me. If you have just scrolled down and looked at the pictures - fair play.

I'd like to thanks those for the advice re: may last post on crocheting into corner chains, and thanks for the tips too!

'till next time....

      

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Quick Question...


I'm in the process of crocheting together a cushion cover using a dc stitch. On the granny-squares I didn't put a chain stitch between the treble clusters but I did make 2 chain in the corners. Therefore as I'm going around there are chain stitches to work in. My question is, do you crochet into the chain stitch itself or into the  chain space???? 
I have been going into the chain stitch itself as this matches with going into all other stitches but it is tight and I can get stuck at the chains for a little while (splitty yarn doesn't help). I guess this could be one of those 'matter of opinion' things and down to the individual, but I would be interested in what any fabulous, wonderful, expert crochet bloggers do.

Thank you in anticipation of any advice....


PS. if you do have trouble leaving a comment then I'm happy for you to email me: betsymakes@gmail.com

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Mooching in Ampthill

Hello all, and hello to Spring. A very warm welcome to you both!
With the mild weather making trips out more pleasurable I took advantage and headed to Ampthill, a gorgeous historic town not too far from where I live.
I love bunting strung over streets

 My work has an office there where I'm sent to cover regularly and I popped in to say hello to my work colleague and have a chat. It was lovely to spend a bit of time with her during her break but unfortunately she did have to get on (work rather gets in the way in my opinion) so I headed off to the shops for a mooch.


These cottages are situated right opposite the office, it's great to be greeted with a pretty site after a hard slog day!

There are some wonderful shops in Ampthill, and I always enjoy a visit. My favourite is Ampthill Emporium, a large 3 story Victorian building full to the brim with antiques and interesting bits and bobs. I have to be really careful though as it's so easy to spend too much and I really have very little willpower in the spending department. However this time I came away with a bargain. A gorgeous one at that!


This lovely handmade patchwork quilt, in light greens, blues and pinks. I love patchwork quilts but all the ones I own I have made myself. I saw this one hanging over the banister up the glorious wide staircase in the Emporium and I fell in love. It is in really good condition, I don't think it's particularly old but it is hand-quilted which gives a wonderful home-spun feel.


I did give it a gentle wash in the machine and was glad the weather was mild enough for it to go on the line and air out in the breeze. It didn't dry completely so it went on my dry-soon  for a bit and has come up lovely. (The mysterious yellow stain has gone, thank goodness)


I also picked up another little trinket. I love it apart from the fact that it obviously is an ashtray and that puts me off!


I can add it to my collection of other trinkets!

ok you can stop buying trinkets now Sam...
The clog was priced at £3 and the quilt at £25 but Eddie charged me £26 for both! It's not that he can't add up, for some reason they automatically discount, they always do it there. ( I'm not sure Eddie is his real name but he looks so much like Eddie Izzard that in my head that's what he's called, lol)

I have mixed feelings about this bargain. On one hand I'm delighted that I have it in my possession for not very much money but am sad that something that has taken someone with a lot of talent, a lot of time and effort to make can't command a higher value. To buy the fabric alone would cost a lot more than £26 and so her time to make it (and I have to presume it was made by a her) isn't valued in a monetary sense at all. 


Still, now it's here with me it will be loved and valued, used and adored as if it were priceless.
and maybe in the future it's value will be regarded in a different light as with Van Gogh's art:

"While American businessmen snap up Van Goghs 
For the price of a hospital wing "

a Del Amitri lyric in my post! - I wasn't planning it but silly happy I got it in :-)

'till next time...
       
PS: Disclaimer - although I love this quilt and think it should've been priced higher, I don't think it is worth the price of a hospital wing.

PPS: Did you notice I got the lol in?!!

Thursday, 14 March 2013

A little bit addicted...

Hello all, just want to fit in a little post here to keep up to date. The Catch Up & Crochet workshops at Fancy Coffee shop are going really well and interest is building. It's always difficult to get started with these things but with the help of Saffrons facebook page the word is getting about. The next workshop is on Tuesday 23rd April. Tuesday is the only night of the week that Mr R doesn't work so can be on hand to help little Mummy ( my 12year old daughter) with babysitting. This workshop is basic granny square for beginners and those needing to refresh their skills. Info on workshop page.


Last time we all made a crochet edging to little hankies. It was a great evening and the feedback was positive.


I think there was a lot of surprise as to how easy this technique is.


look at the concentration on faces!!!

You may be able to see on the above rubbish photo that we used some vintage sheets for the hankies! I bought the fabric from lovely Ada for this very purpose from her Etsy shop.

She is having a giveaway on her blog at the moment in conjunction with her friend to promote her perfume store. Pop over and leave a comment / follow her blog to be in with the chance of winning some goodies!!

'till next time...
        

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Carol's Doily

Well hello to you, I do hope you're well and happy,  in between the bizarre snow showers we've had today I managed to get to the post office to send off the thank you card and doily I made for my friend and work colleague Carol.
You see Carol invited me and baby girl over to her house last week for a natter/gossip/moan about work and she treated me to a lovely pub lunch ( baby bought her own lunch but still enjoyed a fair amount of my omelet) and a cup of tea and pastry back at her house.
We had such a lovely time and I was so touched by Carol's hospitality and generosity ( I even came home with a beautiful cream wool coat that she no longer wanted) that I decided to make a handmade gift to show my appreciation.
I have, at the moment, a bit of a craze for making doilies. I have played a little with Japanese chart patterns:


I made these in the car while the ever-loving Mr R drove us up to Whitley Bay for our anniversary. ( I asked him if he minded. He said he didn't)


and this one is from a vintage crochet pattern book I found in a charity shop a little while ago.


In fact you can see the wonderful bounty I found that day in St Neots...

I could not help but notice that lovely Carol had a few doilies of her own so I know it's the type of thing she likes.


So I sat down with a mug of tea and perused my patterns and decided on a pretty doily from Twilleys of Stamford 'Doilies and Mats' (392)

I can't help but love these pattern books with the 70's styling... now hang on....I've been fooled!!
There's me thinking these were vintage, the book in question is the one in the above picture on the far right ( it's got a red sticker in the top corner) it looks pretty old fashion don't you think? Well I have it here next to me and on the back is an EMAIL ADDRESS!!!!! That's not 70's is it? Well, I'll be...

It matters not, talk about a live broadcast though (lol) the other books, I think are a lot older. Anyhow....shall I just show you piccies of the blooming doily?


The edging before blocking, it did flatten out a fair bit after blocking but not as much as I would've liked.


I have used a thicker yarn (Patons 100% Cotton DK) and larger hook (3.5mm) than stated in the pattern and I rather like the way it's turned out. I really rate this yarn, it's got a nice sheen to it.


Carol's doily looks quite nice on my newly pink painted stool, have a mind to make another for myself.


close up of the middle bit....


....posing with my Mothers' Day flowers....

so I do hope Carol likes her doily, another alternative was the crochet bikini:


it's an option......

'till next time.....

   
PS. my teenage daughter cringes every time I use lol in a post so therefore, of course I will use it in every single one. LOL