Tuesday, November 29, 2016


Well, I've finished making a crocheted blanket for my grandson. The yarn is handspun wool. The cream colour is natural, the other colours I dyed using my microwave. The pattern is here. It only took me a few weeks to make, so a blanket can be crocheted pretty quickly if I don't work on other projects simultaneously. But there are many other crafts and things waiting, so although I have another blanket planned, I do think it'll go more slowly!

Saturday, November 26, 2016


I rather like the idea of whipping up a top to wear to a Christmas party. Truth be told, I've contemplated the project for months and left it until the morning of the party to actually get around to doing it! I had a wide scarf that I liked, but didn't wear. I thought perhaps I could transform it into a blouse similar to one I bought in a charity shop in Perth. I used this tutorial  that I came across on Pinterest to help me, though it is for a child's garment and knit fabric. I'm pleased with the result and think it will be more useful than the scarf.

Friday, November 25, 2016

From Blossom to Bottle

Well the Spring blossoms developed into apricots. The birds ate many of them, but Jack managed to harvest a bowl full for me to make jam and chutney with. This is the first crop we've been able to use, so we're very excited about that! The onions for the chutney came from his garden too. It seems a bit self defeating to buy more ingredients than you harvest, so I'm pleased that the main ingredients came from the garden. I have one and a half bottles of jam and three bottles of chutney to add to my larder.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016


I've finished the fourth section of my blanket. The yarn for the next section still needs to be spun. And dyed, of course. I contemplate colours as I spin.

Monday, November 21, 2016


When I'd finished crocheting one section, it looked as though I had half a  ball of each colour left. I thought perhaps it would be a good idea to do the colours in reverse on the second half of my blanket. Yesterday I thought I had better check that there really is enough left to do that. Good thing I did check. There  are 22 rounds of the niddy noddy left, from an original 50, so I have used more than half and won't have enough left in each ball for another section. No matter. I will go back to my original idea which is to use the left over colours for the next blanket.

Part Three

I've finished crocheting the third section of my blanket. It's 112 cm wide and (so far) 80 cm long. There's still a way to go!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Ready For Section Three

I spun and plyed another batch of yarn for my blanket, about 200 g wool. I dyed four colours in the microwave and left the skeins to dry overnight. This morning I could wind them into balls and now I'm ready to begin crocheting again.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

More Colours

I've finished crocheting the second section of my blanket. I must admit I'm not sticking to my own resolution to have this as an evening project and work on other things during the day. There are some day time projects lining up, but I'm enjoying working on the blanket.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Quilling - Not for Me!

At yesterday's craft group meeting we had a quilling demonstration. Wikipedia explains quilling thus. There are examples of beautiful work on Pinterest and the internet generally. It's not a craft I'm going to be taking up. It involves glue! I avoid anything that involves glue. But it was interesting to hear about it and see the methods involved. I like to learn something new, even if I'm not going to try it. One interesting point that the demonstrator made is that the pictures on the internet give no idea of how tiny the motif are. You work with very small pieces of paper, coiled into tiny circles. Perhaps we should all be more aware of scale in our pictures?

Monday, November 14, 2016

Blanket Beginnings

I've worked the first section of my blanket, using this pattern, which I've used before.  This time I'm making a concerted effort to crochet over the ends to hide them as I go. I don't mind sewing in ends, but really it makes more sense to crochet them in. I've been reading about tapestry crochet, where colours are carried along by crocheting over them, and I realised the same technique could be used for ends. The next section will be done in different colours, but I have to finish spinning the wool first.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Lesson Three

Don't look too closely. This is the bookmark that is lesson three of Carol Leather's Hardanger course. I'm going to take it to the next craft group meeting and get advice from the experienced embroiderers on how to improve on it.

Thursday, November 10, 2016


I like Beadbet's pattern, but I like the triangles part a bit more than the other part. So I've made another beaded crochet bracelet with repeated triangles.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Starting Again

Having finished Jack's pullover, I need a new 'evening project'. I have an irrational yen to crochet a blanket. Or afghan as an American would call it. When I was a child, I had a 'grannyblanket' that I really loved, so I figure I can find a grandchild to give a blanket to. I'm planning a blanket that I can start crocheting without finishing the spinning.

I'm making inroads into my wool supply, but there's still plenty left for a  blanket or two!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Reaching the Shore

I've just finished sewing Jack's pullover together. The pattern On the Shore, is from Knit Today magazine, April 2012. The yarn is wool I hand spun. Jack is nearly as pernickety as the competition judges, so I'm a bit cross with myself for not checking the front was absolutely symmetrical before knitting the neckband! Too late to change it now. I still have to block the pullover. I think I'll just wash it, make sure I get rid of any Kalahari sand left lurking in it. Jack's birthday is on Friday, so I've met my deadline.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

On To Eyelets

I finished the buttonhole stitch on my Hardanger bookmark, lesson three of the Hardanger course. It's not perfect, but better than my first attempt. I managed to get the hang of joining in a new thread smoothly, but undoing a stitch or two and doing them over resulted in hiccups. I'll have to ask someone the correct way to do that.

Now for the eyelets:
I'm relieved that the eyelets don't involve cutting threads! The hole is created by just pulling the thread all around. The eyelets are worked with a finer thread than the buttonhole stitch and kloster blocks:

Friday, November 4, 2016


I took time off from buttonhole stitch to crochet a beaded bracelet for a gift. The pattern is signed by beadbet, hooray, I like it when the patterns are signed! This is the first time I've done a pattern that is 8 beads in circumference rather than 6. A bigger circumference gives greater scope for patterns, but for me as a beginner, the tension is more difficult to maintain.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Buttonhole Stitch

The next step on my Hardanger bookmark is a buttonhole edging, all the way round the bookmark. Buttonhole Stitch? I know how to do that, no problem. Hmm. Not so fast Jane. I started off on the bookmark and found that it was very difficult to get a smooth, consistent look with a stitch in each hole. It's vital to work in every space so that the fabric can be trimmed without falling apart.  I unpicked that and started practising on a bare patch of fabric:
It looks rather ratty, but I learnt a lot. It's easier to get the stitches correct if you do a whole stitch at a time, needle in and needle out before pulling the thread. Then you can see there are four threads on the needle. I have a tendency to do stitches in two halves, which is laborious as well as ineffective in this case. Also, it's easier to see what's happening on the reverse side, so I kept turning the work over to make sure I was on track.

As well as practising the stitch itself, I tried out turning an outside corner, turning an inside corner and joining in new thread, which are all part of  Lesson Three. None of them were as easy as they sounded! I found a way of using pins to help me with the outside corner:
Now I must take a deep breath and try the bookmark again.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Working on Lesson Three

Lesson three of the Hardanger Course is a bookmark. It involves the stitches I'll need for my final bookmark, so I'm going to spend some time on it.

I had some difficulty positioning my first blocks on my grid. You count threads, but the needle comes up and down in the holes between the threads. That can boggle the mind a bit! It was fine once I got going. So these are kloster blocks, always worked first.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Progress on the Second Sleeve

I've been knitting in the evenings, making slow progress on the second sleeve. There's not much more to do. It has been terribly hot here, it hardly seems sensible to be knitting with wool!