Thursday, 17 May 2012

Diagonal Crochet

I've been looking forward to showing you my new blanket and here it is. Quite a few months ago I saw a crochet blanket which had diagonal stripes and I was intrigued about how it was constructed. I made a mental note to look into it for future reference and then pushed it to the back of my mind. Up until I was wondering what to do with my Stylecraft stash. I was originally thinking of doing a ripple like this. Which I would still like to do. But I remembered the nagging thought of this diagonal pattern and learning a new crochet technique/pattern is always a nice challenge. So I searched around for the pattern and came across this blog which has an English tutorial. It took a little bit of working out but I got there in the end and was quick to get going on this blanket.

Action shot of me just starting out with this project. Each row is crocheted in alternate directions so you can see in the above photo that the olive green row has vertical crochet stitches and the orange row has horizontal stitches. By the time I completed the third row, I'd got the hang of the pattern and haven't looked back.

The sun's out - quick get some outdoor shots!

Another action shot - it's grown quite a bit over the past few days and I had so many Stylecraft colours in my stash to choose from.

Yep, haven't sewn one end in yet. Such a crochet rebel!

I took this photo yesterday and have added another three rows since then. I can't decide how big this blanket is going to be though. I have a tendency to make lap sized blankets rather than bed sized blankets but I get the feeling this is going to be a large lap blanket/single bed sized blanket. If that's the case, I may need to replenish the Stylecraft stash - shock horror.

I still want to make a ripple blanket though. Must finish this one and the hexagon blanket before I even contemplate a new project... x

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Garden update

I certainly made the most of the amazing weather over the weekend, weeding the front garden and along the side of the decking. This kept me busy for a few hours and renewed my love of our garden. I am truly hoping that we get this garden into a beautiful state - well as beautiful as two non gardeners can do! (My lovely husband mowed the lawn on Friday after work, even though he was feeling unwell. By Saturday morning, he was confined to bed with aching muscles and flu like symptoms. He only went back to work today and has been feeling rotten over the last few days. Unfortunately F and I both woke up with sore throats and feeling bunged up so I am hoping we will not get the full blown version.)

 The above photo is of a rhododendron (I think) in the back garden, near the side of the garage and on the end of my new fruit border. This long straight border gets full sunshine pretty much all day and was once covered with ivy and shaded by a large and completely overgrown laurel bush. You may remember that it got chopped down last year on the spur of the moment by my husband whilst I was out! That sure was a surprise when I got home, I can tell you, but it looks so much better without the laurel.

Here's a very blurry photo of the gooseberries. They are about half size at the moment and me and F are currently trying to get rid of all the saw fly caterpillars that stripped the bushes of leaves last year. I am plucking them off and F is stamping on them. Believe me, she is very enthusiastic about her new role in the garden and runs out whenever I tell her it's time to go stamping. I have to remember to tell her to take her shoes off straight away when she comes back in!  She has also been enjoying some time on her own on the swing, sometimes singing, sometimes making up new games, always with a smile on her face.

Another shot of the fruit border. Last year when I was starting to clear the old veg patch, I found a lone strawberry plant which I potted up and hoped that a few strawberries might grow. I bought another strawberry plant on a whim to keep it company. Over the winter I noticed that some runners had grown and made a mental note to dig them up and replant them in the fruit border where they would get plenty of sun. Well, I did this at the weekend and found six runners from the two original plants. I have no idea whether I will get any fruit from the runners this year (have just googled it and it looks like I have done everything wrong, never mind!) but apparently I have got to pick the flowers off the runners this year if they get any so the plants have a chance to establish themselves.

The tayberries are growing nicely after being hacked back (again, probably at completely the wrong time of year) so not sure what's going to happen. But considering they were hiding behind lots of weeds up until last year, I am sure they will survive.

So that's the current situation in the garden, still lots more weeding and tidying up to do but I am on a roll so hopefully with the good weather forecast for the rest of this week, I will be able to put a few more hours of gardening in. We are also trying to source a cantilever parasol that tilts and is within our budget. On the very few days of sunshine and warmth last Summer, we really struggled to stay shaded as our decking is in full sunshine pretty much all day. Hopefully we will find one that is perfect for our needs and that we will actually have some sunshine this year to make it worthwhile buying.

I went on a charity shop run yesterday to see if I could get some more Harry Potter books for F. She started reading the first one this week after having such a great time at the Harry Potter studio tour. She is over half way through the book already so I thought I had better start buying the rest. I didn't find any but did get some books for E and this cat basket for Gerard. He doesn't really need a cat basket as he usually sleeps on the sofa or F's bed but I thought it would be nice to have in the kitchen. He hasn't sat in it yet and keeps eyeing it suspiciously. I get the feeling I may have wasted my money. It still looks cute though and I am very tempted to make a round crochet blanket to go in it.

So that's all for today but I am really excited to show you photos of my new crochet project. I am loving making it and it has grown considerably over the last few days. I will be working on this new project alongside the hexagon blanket as I really don't want to shelve that blanket and then forget about it. Hope you are having a great week. Take care. x

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Circles Scarf

I kind of figured that if I started making a scarf, the weather would turn. And that's exactly what's happened. It's still not that warm - only 13 degrees C - but we have had the most incredible sunshine today. I've been out in the garden making the most of it and doing a couple of hours of weeding.

Anyway, back to the crochet. This was the mini project I mentioned in my previous post. I started it on Wednesday and finished it on Thursday, it was that quick and very easy to do.

I got the pattern from an old crochet magazine that my Mum gave me but I have just had a look at Ravelry and it is on there, for a price.

Once I had completed the first row of circles I cast off and started a new row of half circles. These were then joined to the first row as I completed each circle, if that makes sense.

And here's a photo of the finished article again. This was made using a linen blend yarn which I got at a greatly reduced price from Kemps Wool. It's a wonderful colour, a really rich mustard. The yarn split quite a lot which is probably why it was so greatly reduced, but it felt so so soft once made up.

I really enjoyed making this scarf as it was so quick and simple and a lovely break from making big blankets. I think I might have enough yarn to make another one, which is just as well as this scarf is a gift for a lovely friend who gave me some physio treatment for my shoulder. My shoulder was quite painful a few weeks ago and had restricted movement, but the physio exercises my friend gave me have really helped and my shoulder is almost back to normal. I really hope she likes the scarf.

I also have some chunky wool which I think would work quite well with this pattern - I may try using an oversized crochet hook to see what kind of effect that will give. I have also started another blanket (how many blankets does one household need?!) which I will tell you about shortly. I have not touched it today so I am getting withdrawal symptoms from it - must have a little crochet before I start cooking dinner.

 Have a wonderful weekend whatever you are up to. x

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

A little catch up

And yet again I am behind with blog posts. So many photos, so much that we have done and not a lot of time/enthusiasm to upload all the photos and sling a few words on the screen to explain what's been going on in our little world. Sorry bout that, will try to do a few mini blog posts in a row to get back on track.

Well now, I'm having to go way back to Mother's Day here (I know) to show you what I got (read as what I ordered for myself once my lovely hard working husband asked me what I wanted). So I had a quick think about what I wanted and remembered seeing these incredibly stylish cushion covers over on this blog. I loved them so much and made a mental note to put them at the top of my list of things I would love to buy. My memory isn't good at all but I sure did remember these beauties and promptly placed an order before heading off to HK. The cushion covers arrived whilst we were away so I had a lovely surprise when I got back.

This one just looks fab on my Eames rocker. Love it. The cushions are made of such good quality, heavy cotton and they have a cute black label on the side.  I would definitely recommend them - other designs are available, I especially love the Octons design.

My husband was busy a couple of weeks ago in the kitchen - no, not cooking but ripping off wall tiles and filling in holes. Since then, he has fitted a stainless steel splashback for the hob and we have all the wall tiles bought and ready to fit. We're getting there, slow but steady.

Once the tiles are up, I can finishing painting the cabinets (just a couple of bits here and there to paint) then do the final layer of wax, paint the walls, ceiling, radiator and fit the new floor. Phew, tired just thinking about it. Will be good once it's done though. Might even crack open some bubbly and do a proper photo shoot. Or maybe not!

E has also been busy in the kitchen. She decided she would like to make some red velvet cupcakes. I was there for guidance purposes only, it was her doing the baking and me just showing her where we kept everything. Note to self, move all the baking ingredients to a lower shelf so she can reach it all next time. E is really starting to enjoy independence in the kitchen, just having the confidence to have a go and see what happens. She still likes me to be there just in case though. :)

So, that's what was going on in my house 2 weeks ago! More recent activities like finishing the striped baby blanket and starting a new mini crochet project will be coming soon. Hopefully.

Anyway, is anyone interested in seeing some photos of our trip to the Warner Bros Studio Tour - The Making of Harry Potter? It's the one in Watford, UK as opposed to Florida! We had the best time but I don't want to bore you or spoil it for you if you have already planned to go. Let me know if you're interested.  Laters. xx