Finishing off small projects

After reorganising my living room I’ve been feeling a bit more inspired to crochet and to finish off some WIPs (work in progress).My second washcloth was a bit of a pickle as, having made one already, I was confident I could make the second without looking at the instructions… Umm, apparently not! Increasing was fine and making the corner itself was fine but then something went wrong and I wasn’t decreasing. Several frogged rows and a quick look at the instructions and I was off again… Hmm… A quick look was obviously not enough as the rows were still not decreasing! More frogging ensued, but thankfully cotton is a nice yarn for this!After a proper step by step read of the instructions I finally knew what I was doing wrong, and more importantly, what I needed to do to make it work.And a bus journey to the west Midlands safari park did the trick and I got it finished!So then I picked up my bobble purse, and carried on with that. The return journey from the safari park (which was well worth a visit) and a couple of episodes of first dates (!), and here it is. I decided to use the bright pink button to try to pick out the pink highlights in the yarn.

So now I am onto the last small WIP, which is my virus shawl.The problem with leaving a project for ages is that then I can’t remember where I got to in the pattern, and I don’t really remember how the pattern goes even though I’ve got it written down. Interestingly, although I usually prefer written instructions, while looking for more detail on line I discovered this diagrammatic pattern and it’s been way more helpful for figuring out where I’d got to and what I needed to do next… Which annoyingly involved frogging most of a row as I’d previously put stitches in the wrong places! Malabrigo baby silkpaca lace is a gorgeous yarn but it does not like being frogged at all. Tiny fibres wrap around each other and need to be broken before the stitch will come undone properly. But it’s frogged now and ready to go! We’ll see how much progress I make over the back holiday weekend 😊

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Some crochet rabbits and a fluke!

A couple of days ago my lodger asked if I could teach her to crochet as she wanted to make rabbits for her son’s baptism. She was eyeing up my toft bunny

but I figured that’s a bit complicated to start with. So I showed her how to chain and then double crochet (uk terms) into it. She did really well at keeping her rows all the same length, and her only issue was that the chain row was a bit tight (not sure there will ever be a beginner crocheter who doesn’t have that problem!).

In an hour she managed maybe 5 rows and was easily remembering what to do. The next night she carried on on her own with no further input from me, and she ended up with this.

On her next to final row she managed to miss the last stitch , so there is a little notch in the corner, but it wasn’t going to show in her final rabbit. I was so impressed by how straight her edges were and how neat her stitches turned out… I can’t believe this is her first ever attempt at crochet… I think she’s a natural.

She even got started on another one all by herself.

So this afternoon we sat down and sewed them up using these photos as guidance. And then we added pom pom tails.

Here are our finished rabbits

It’s quite nice that on a day when there is one less guinea pig in the world, as Rosie had to be put to sleep this morning after a week of being poorly, that there are 2 new crocheted rabbits ☺️.

Then, because I reorganised our whole living room due to there not being a guinea pig cage taking up lots of space any more, I took the opportunity to sort through my yarn. I found an old part-used ball of cotton and decided to make a flannel/washcloth from it. I’d found a tutorial for a corner to corner moss stitch washcloth on Ravelry, so had a go at that as I’ve never done moss stitch before.

The tutorial was great… What wasn’t great was that I realised I was likely to run out of yarn before the square was finished! Sure enough, 3 or 4 rows from the end I just had a tiny tail of cotton left. But then I had a cunning plan! What if I just chained it and joined it on, to create a hanging loop? Well now I think it looks like it’s a deliberate part of the design πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚.

Sneaky but clever!

I love how this stitch looks, and how quickly the flannel worked up. More flannels coming this way soon!

Embossing copper

This was a super quick craft that I rushed and didn’t entirely enjoy. It’s from a craftiosity kit that I’ve had for ages. I just decided on Thursday that I might as well just have a go.

It’s funny as the photo looks more impressive than it does in real life! In real life I don’t feel that the design stands out all that vividly, despite following the process of using the embossing tool on the back, a paper stump to smooth the front and redoing the design on the back again.

I’m frustrated that my folding wasn’t entirely accurate, despite bending the edges against the box, so I had to fiddle with it once I’d stuck it on, as part of it was stopping the box from opening properly where it pushed on one of the hinges.

Still, it’s functional now and it looks OK but it’s not a craft I’m planning to repeat!

Macrame

Ages ago my sister in law suggested that if I fancied making her something for her upcoming birthday then she loved everything that this lady makes!

I really liked the look of the hanging feathers, so way before Christmas I ordered two big rolls of macrame string.

A few weeks ago my husband and I were at Rhossili

and I realised I needed some driftwood to hang the feathers from, so we brought a few pieces home. Then we discovered that they were making the room smell, so we put them out in the sun to properly dry off, and i discovered that it was only one of the pieces that smelled after that! That piece has been got rid of!

On Wednesday I discovered that we were actually going to see her on Saturday, and her birthday is on Sunday… So I quickly got on with making the hanging for her.

It’s actually very simple knotting, and I found instructions in all sorts of places, including here.

Here’s how it developed

Then I started to unravel the string 3 parts, and then I used my tangle teaser to brush out the rest. I loved how it puffed out once you started brushing it… I didn’t love how my tangle teaser looked once i’d finished! Maybe a cat grooming brush would be best but I didn’t have one (not owning a cat) and I didn’t have time to go out and buy one.

Still, it worked and here’s how it looked before spraying the fathers with stiffening spray.

First forays into stained glass

My mum has come to stay, so today I took her over to Cinderford where we did a stained glass workshop run by Jo Snowden. Here are some of the amazing pieces of work she has done.

She runs a mix of whole day sessions and evening classes which you can check out here. It was just me and my mum, which meant we got loads of help whenever we needed it.

We started by choosing our designs, which looked quite boring on paper, but as soon as jo showed us photos of ones that people had made, or examples that she had in her workshop you could immediately see how they came to life with the different coloured glass. I ended up choosing a sunset and my mum picked a flower design.

We started by cutting one paper copy of the design to fit the frame, and then used channel scissors to cut the other copy into smaller pieces that we would use as templates for cutting the glass pieces.

Jo showed us different techniques for cutting the glass and then we had a little practice.

Then we got going with our chosen colours.

We used the grinder to smooth any rough edges or grind them down if we’d not cut accurately along the line.

I managed to get all my pieces cut before we stopped for lunch.

After lunch we stuck copper foil round the edges of every piece, which was actually a very relaxing part of the process. I loved how they looked with the copper edging, and think its a bit of a shame that that all gets covered over with solder.

We used lead for the frame

and gradually soldered all the pieces together on the front,

before turning it over and finishing it all off on the back.

Finally we added wire hooks to the corners on the back so that it will be easy to hang somewhere.

This is mine

This is my mum’s

I’m really pleased with how mine turned out and I really enjoyed the whole process. Scoring and breaking the glass was almost magical, melting the solder was fun, and the copper foil was relaxing. It was also really fun rummaging through boxes of glass to find the colours and textures we thought would work best in our designs.

Thank you Jo for a lovely day, and for helping me to create a piece that I will treasure.

Making a dress…. And a plea for help

Hey there. This afternoon i decided to finally pick up the pieces I cut for my dress and try actually putting them together into something wearable! I must have cut the pieces last July or maybe August, and left the pattern pieces pinned to them so I knew what was the front and what was the back. This means that every time someone has stayed since then I’ve had to warn them about sitting on the chair in the spare room as they may get pins in them if they lean on my fabrics! All that changed today. I broke through the “what if I mess it all up… What if I don’t understand the pattern… What if it all goes wrong?” moment, figuring that messing it up was no worse than it sitting in pieces on the back of a chair.

So , I started by ironing all the pieces again and then looked up how to do stay stitching. It was interesting that 2 different you tube clips have completely opposite instructions. One said to use the longest possible stitches and stitch all the way round the neck line in one go, the other said to use shorter stitches as they’d reduce the possibly of stretching, and to do 2 separate lines of stitching working from the top down into the centre. I went with the second lot of instructions as they made more sense with the arrows on the pattern and I liked the logic of smaller stitches. Then I started to realise that I hadn’t actually cut all the pieces out… I still needed the tie parts (previously I was heavier and figured it wouldn’t need tying, now I’ve lost some weight and figure it will need tying) plus i’d not noticed the top part of the pockets. Also I discovered that you needed bias binding for covering the inside seams but thankfully I had a few long pieces stashed in a box so that was a relief.

First up I joined the front and back parts to the bottom section. And added the bias binding to the seams. I discovered how hard it is to remove basting if you’ve sewn over it with the real stitching, and how hard it is to see which stitches you need to snip if you’ve not bothered to change the colour of your thread. It was much easier the second time when I changed colours and tried not to go over the stitches!

Then I put the pleat in the pockets, added the top part and then put bias binding round the edge.

Then I attached the pockets… First one went on back to front so I had all the raw edges showing, so that had to come off and be reattached… But thankfully my technique of sewing round corners seemed to improve each time I did it!The instructions called for the pocket to be sewn on down the inside edge of the bias binding but then I felt the outer edge was a bit scrappy and exposed, so I added another line of stitching round the edge. I love the variegated thread against the dark blue binding.

And then it was time to sew up the ties and attach them… And this is where I would really appreciate your help. I’ve read the instructions and played with a couple of ideas but I really don’t understand what they mean when they say bring the broken lines together in instruction 14 (which lines? There are 4 of them!). I’m attaching photos of the instructions (it’s Simplicity 1080 if that helps at all) and the lines on the pattern piece.

Can anyone shed any light on what I’m actually meant to do? I’ve played with 2 possibilities :

1

2

But neither of them really link to the dotted lines so I don’t think they can be right.Feel free to pm me if that’s easier than replying to the post here. Any help would be most gratefully received as I’m very stuck now and don’t want to ruin it at this stage!

Something a bit bigger than usual

In church this morning we are having an all age service about when Jesus was sleeping in the boat and there was a storm. His disciples freaked out and woke him up but he stopped the storm by speaking to the wind and the waves. We have lots planned but yesterday I spent time making the shell of a boat at the front of church from very large sheets of cardboard and parcel tape! We had found the ship’s wheel at the local scrap store and we made the mast from a very long broom stick.

Hopefully the drama of a large boat in church will help people to remember some of the things they learn this morning.