Sunday, 27 June 2010

First steps in crochet

Until recently my experience of crochet consisted only of provisional cast-on. But I've now taken my first, tentative proper crochet steps.

I had a beginner's crochet book for my birthday back in January and last week I opened it and looked at chains. I knit with the yarn in my right hand, in the Yorkshire method, as instructed by my granny in Barnsley 30+ years ago. So holding the yarn in my left hand was pretty wierd. When I'd got the hang of it, I used the crochet chain method to edge a knitted washcloth.

(Do excuse the rather bright colour palette. I was using up some old cotton dk scraps.)

The edging is not perfectly neat, but I think it's not so bad for a beginner.

But really I'd like to be able to do this (Sewing Daisies' vivid dreams blanket - work in progress). Or this (Attic24's neat ripple blanket pattern). 

I can see I still have some way to go. 

Updates will no doubt follow in due course. I hope.

ETA: I made another on Sunday afternoon, and the edging seems to be improving:

Thursday, 24 June 2010

June harvest

Remember the gooseberry bush we planted in April? I didn't think it would fruit this year, but it has produced a little bit! And there is still some left on the bush to pick.

If I can get to 1lb of gooseberries, or if I can supplement with some from the greengrocer, I might make a gooseberry and creme fraiche tart (see also Delia Smith's How to Cook Book 3)

The gooseberry bush is only a baby, so I wasn't expecting much of it. Other areas of our garden are cropping rather more spectacularly:

There's ds with the results of two early potato plants. I can see I'm entering into leave-potatoes-off-the-shopping list territory again.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Patchwork progress

A month ago, having cut out 144 5-inch squares, I foolishly announced my intention on teh Internets to sew patchwork blocks the following weekend.

Ha ha ha. That'll teach me to set short-term goals in public! But seriously, yesterday I finally managed to pin and sew some of the blocks.

There are 16 9-patch blocks in the quilt top and so far, I've completed 12. The last four are partly sewn (left in picture), so I think I've made pretty good progress. After I've sewn the 9-patch blocks, I have to cut them up again. I've done this for 8 of the 16 blocks (on right in picture):

I'm not entirely happy with my patchwork sewing. I measured and cut with a patchwork ruler and rotary cutter, but even so, not all my pieces line up perfectly. I guess I'll be going for the homespun look here! 

I was spurred on to do this sewing by my sister-in-law, who gave me this new sewing box, for no particular reason other than she was in the Cath Kidston shop and thought I would like it.

Like it? I love it!

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Chocolate Socks

I've mostly been working this week, in the office five days. But in the evenings, I've been working away at my chocolate socks.

This was my first pair of knitted socks. Now I've had these socks on my feet, I can see why there's all the fuss about hand-knitted socks. They feel about a million percent more comfy than your ordinary, shop-bought socks.

The pattern is available at Before starting, I was startled by the instruction to drop yarnovers - I've dropped plenty in my time, but not usually on purpose! However, I soon understood that the yarnovers were only there to elongate the subsequent stitches, to allow for a 180-degree twist when those stitches were cabled. (Just re-reading that there, I think to the non-knitter it must appear like another language)

I also want to credit the v. helpful designer who helped me out with another question on Ravelry. Thanks, Bianca!

Finally a word about the lovely yarn recommended for this pattern, which is Schoppel-wolle Zauberball in shade Chocolate-Creme:

It was dyed in long repeats of various shades of brown and cream, and was gorgeous to knit with. I'm sorely tempted now by the blackberry colourway, I might have to invest in a couple of balls to add to my yarn stash.

Shared at Tea Rose Home Link Party No 13

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Patio progress

Dh and I have lived in our current home a long time - almost sixteen years. In all that time, we've never done any "hard" landscaping in the garden until this year - although we've done lots of "soft" landscaping, in the form of planting shrubs - most of the early ones died, I've got to say. My gardening skills are still at the developing stage.

Anyway, this year we've changed the habits of a decade. First we had the fence replaced, and now we're installing* a patio to replace the ageing tarmac behind our house. The new paved area will be roughly double the old tarmac part - we're encroaching a little on the lawn.

This is work in progress, this weekend.

To be completely truthful, even this building site effect looks a lot better than the patch of weed and moss-covered tarmac that was there before!

*The word "installed" does not mean that either dh or I have personally been wielding cement and trowel, etc. My domestic skills do not tend in this direction, and nor do dh's, if the truth is told!

Friday, 11 June 2010

Cut-and-Stick Space

For fourteen years, the smallest bedroom in our house had yellow walls and an ABC border. The original pink flowered curtains were replaced with yellow ones with a Humpty Dumpty print when ds came along, and ds was perfectly happy with this until he was six, when he asked for a room makeover. So we removed the border, painted the walls pale blue, replaced the Humpty Dumpties with blue checks, and installed new posters to reflect ds's current interests (outer space, dinosaurs).

Ds has a little table he uses for cutting and sticking. We also made a small improvement here.



The little metal rail with hanging pots came from the IKEA kitchen range and holds glue, pencils and other crafty stuff to hand. It's a great crafts solution, as it leaves more room for working on the little table, helps keep everything in order, and ensures ds can actually find his scissors when he needs them.

If only I had a craft room, or even a permanent craft corner, I'd install a similar rail there for my scissors...

Friday, 4 June 2010

O Hai, First Sock

first sock

I've never actually worn a hand-knitted sock. However, everyone who knits socks seems to rave about how wonderful they are, over on Ravelry. So I thought I'd give it a try.

This sock is from the Chocolate Socks Yarn Forward pattern, available as a free download at (Note: this link downloads a pdf file.) The pattern has 180-degree twisted cables and dropped yarnovers in it, both of which are new to me, but I'm managing OK so far.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Best laid plans...

I had said I was going to sew patchwork blocks this weekend.

But on Friday, we decided to make the most of the opportunity for a weekend away. So instead, I've been chatting with friends and relations, holding three-month old babies, investigating secret gardens and eating dinners cooked by my mum.

So you'll have to wait a little longer for sewing progress!

Hope you also enjoyed a relaxing Bank Holiday weekend. :-)