Archive for May, 2011

Crochet cables

I have become slightly obsessed with crocheted cables. I never knew it was possible when I started crochet. Cables are really cool and I never thought I’d be able to make them. Most crocheted cables look somewhat different to knit ones. Here are my first bits:

Pic is sideways.

On the left is a pair of twisted cables on their side. The right is honeycomb. Both of these patterns were in a magazine (Interweave Crochet winter 2010) whose article about cables really started me down this route.

I had a good old poke about in the patterns section of Ravelry πŸ™‚ looking for more cables, as well as sticking my head into the knit patterns because there are some beautiful and inspiring designs there. I admired this one especially. I love that collar! And because the cable is so big I could figure out how it worked after looking at it long enough. It is called a staghorn and I haven’t yet found a crocheted version, so I decided to try and figure one out myself.

Fairly ambitious for my second cable ever! My first swatch was not great, but helped me understand it better. My second one is the brown one and my third the heather coloured one:

Experimental staghorn cables

Each row is different as I try different things to get it how I want!

Once I was happy with it, I wanted to find a project to use it in. But first I got distracted by a challenge to figure out a DNA cable:

Crocheted DNA cable πŸ™‚

That was fun πŸ˜€ I don’t think it is perfect, the cross-bonds could be more pronounced, but it is identifiable!

Then I found an ideal project to use my staghorn, chunky cabled legwarmers πŸ™‚ It is a simple enough idea, just a rectangle with buttons. It took me a while to measure and chart a pattern for myself, and I have now done 6 rows!

Not a good pic!

It has a twist, the staghorn, another twist, honeycomb and a third twist, then the buttons. The pic doesn’t show it well at all! I was quite annoyed to discover that I made an error in the chart and the twists flanking the staghorn go the other way than what I had planned; instead of echoing the shape they oppose it. I considered frogging (ripping it back to correct the error) but I had only just got the first half of row 5 right after 3 attempts!

I still want to see how it looks the way I wanted. So I shall do this one how it is and then the other one the way I wanted to and I don’t care if they are odd! Most people probably won’t notice and hey I used to wear odd socks all the time!

I got some buttons today for them. I need 8 and I didn’t have 8 the same in a colour that worked. But now I do πŸ™‚

Ironically, although I still want to finish them, I am excited today because I devised a totally new way to crochet cables that look more like knit! I need to develop the idea, but my trials so far are working well.

Crochet cables are cool πŸ˜€

May 31, 2011 at 11:11 PM 7 comments

A Norwegian bear

Here is a picture of a Norwegian bear.

A random bear

This is totally random and for no particular reason. Don’t worry, the bear was in a bear park, I was in no danger.

May 30, 2011 at 8:19 PM Leave a comment

Not a fan of naps

My stance on naps may seem a tad controversial, but I’m not really a fan. I much prefer to get a decent night’s sleep and feel awake and alert all day, ready for sleep again at bedtime. That is right and natural and it can happen if you manage to get enough sleep at night.

I harbour sneaky suspicions than most nappers are just not getting enough sleep at night.

But sometimes this happens despite your best efforts. Or you feel a bit ill. Or you’ve been overdoing things.

Now sometimes I have managed an acceptable nap. OK so it’s annoying to lose a bit of awake time, but if I needed it then so be it. I wouldn’t mind so much if it left me refreshed and feeling better, which is after all the purported purpose of said activity!

But I seem to wake from naps groggy. Today is a case in point. I suddenly felt tired after my small lunch of apple juice and cheese (I know, I have issues with lunch!) Not just a bit tired, but the kind where you just think ‘oh, I’ll just lie back and rest my eyes for a moment’ and the next think you know something half woke you up and you crack an eye open and realise you just totally lost half an hour and what’s more you feel like an empty sack. You shut your eye and hope it will go away (the feeling, not the eye! ewww!) but you can neither fall back to sleep nor fully wake up.

It was fully 40 minutes before I felt my brain had managed to achieve any kind of focus. And I felt fuzzy and a bit queasy for the rest of the day (still do and it’s now nearly bed time). I hope I get a good eight or nine undisturbed hours tonight and wake up fresh and energised not feeling too bad.

I’d probably have felt just as bad or possibly worse without the nap, so maybe it’s a trifle unfair to blame naps. (Mmmm, trifle…) But I prefer days when I don’t need them!

Are you a nap fan? Do you nap or not? Do you call a small sleep in the middle of the day a nap or something else?

Unlike me, Pebble is a big fan of naps!

May 29, 2011 at 10:56 PM 3 comments

Old slides

Visited my parents today to see their holiday pix. They have just been to Guernsey, which looks lovely. They went in 1968 as well, before I was even a twinkle in their eyes, so they dug out their old slides and got a slide scanner so we could look at them on the telly, which was cool πŸ™‚

My Mum had some excellent clothes in wonderful fabrics, it’s such a shame they are all long gone. One was a green patterned mini dress and I seriously did not see her right away against the background of greenery! πŸ˜€

They also had baby pix of me, which was so weird. I could always remember the wallpaper in my first bedroom (we moved out before I was 5) which was pale blue with daisies and other flowers. That was in one of the photos and it was cool to see it. I also remembered another pattern, from a baby seat, and a brown poncho with orange trim and pompoms that I used to love! And the curtains in the lounge of our old house!

I found it a bit odd how much I remembered those patterns and fabrics. Is that normal?

It was fun though πŸ™‚ Now they are scanned in I might get some copies and I just miiiight dare post one or two!

It seems inevitable that I have ended up crocheting, the poncho and its matching orange hat were crocheted by my Nan, as was a lovely blanket, and she taught my Mum, who crocheted while I was gestating! Why did neither of them ever teach me??? I had to learn from a book! But there was that influence from a very early age πŸ˜‰

Now is time for bed.

May 28, 2011 at 11:28 PM Leave a comment

Book Addiction

I have been in a bookshop a few times without buying any books. Even ScarthinΒ (blog), although that is rare πŸ™‚ (for my previous post on Scarthin books the wonderful lovely shop check the outings tag) but not today. Today I bought three books.

One was second hand and cheap. The other two were new, which is a bit of an indulgence, especially as an Amazon order is also winging its way towards me as I type (well, it’s actually probably in a box sitting in a warehouse or a van at this time of night, but you know what I mean :))

But I just couldn’t resist them, which is a bit weird because they are both about knitting and I not only don’t knit, but I have no plans to learn. I only crochet. But one was about Scandinavian knitting, packed with info and design elements I’m sure I can convert to crochet πŸ™‚

The other is about Aran knitting, with stuff about the history of it and cable patterns and all sorts of juicy stuff. I love crochet cables, although I haven’t yet got round to the post on them yet. I am about to start an actual project using them, rather than just trial bits though, so maybe when there is enough of that to take a pic of I might post.

In fact that is what I want to be doing right now, rather than writing my blog – either starting my new cable project (just got to finish drawing up the plan!) or reading my new books πŸ™‚

I don’t know which shop is harder to leave without a purchase, a book shop or a yarn shop πŸ™‚ although the latter is my new addiction this year while bookshops have always been an Aladdin’s cave to me. Mmmm… books… πŸ˜€

We also had a very nice hot chocolate and some squidgy cake in a flavour I’ve never had before, gooseberry and elderflower, which was yum. But I didn’t take my camera, so no pics.

I regretted the no camera thing when we took a short stroll by the canal, as there were fluffy baby coots with punk hair and also tadpoles.

Anyway, I’m off now to play with cables!

May 27, 2011 at 10:19 PM 1 comment

Fruit

I’m eating a banana right now. It’s just right, yellow with no brown. I prefer them on the green than the brown side of yellow, but the best is the perfect yellow. πŸ™‚

Bananas

I eat a banana most days at this time, as I have to take meds at ten pm, a most inconvenient time to have to eat something. The meds have to be taken with food or you risk getting ulcers. It doesn’t have to be a lot of food, a biscuit or even a glass of milk is OK, but I struggle to swallow pills with just thin fluid, it’s much easier with food.

One of the best things about my husband is that he keeps the house stocked with bananas and milk and things like that. When I lived alone it was such a challenge to go to the shops that I had to make sure I had stock of UHT milk and things that keep well, so I used to use biscuits far more often than bananas as I’d run out.

Mmm, that was a perfect banana all the way down! Very rare to find one without a bruise or anything πŸ™‚

I like bananas because they aren’t too acidic. I also love berries, the sweet ones not the tart ones. And plums when they are perfectly ripe and juicy. And cherries, mmm…

Recently I discovered how yummy passionfruit is πŸ˜€ I bought a pack of cubed pineapple in the bargain bit of the supermarket and it had half a passionfruit in too as a bonus, as I’d never tried one, although I like the juice. I will surely get them again, it was gorgeous.

I also have a portion of fruit with my breakfast, 30g of dried chopped fruit in my porridge or muesli, either dates or apricots. Not only is it yummy, but it starts me off with one of my five a day already ticked off.

If you don’t know about five a day, you are supposed to try and get five portions of fruit/veg every day. The portion sizes vary, for example 5cm of cucumber is a portion, but half a lettuce! I can easily eat the cucumber, but I struggle with that much lettuce. So the salad garnish served with a lot of food as a nod to health is hardly worth bothering with, it’s about a tenth of a portion!

200ml of fruit juice counts as a portion, but only once per day no matter how much you have. And they all have to be different – five bananas is still just one portion! A really thick fruit smoothie can be 2 portions as there is more roughage left in it.

Most days I get 5, sometimes more, sometimes less, but rarely fewer than 3.

If you want to know more, there is lots of info on the web, just google it.

What fruit do you love or hate? Have you recently tried a new fruit? If so, was it good?

May 26, 2011 at 10:19 PM 4 comments

Crochet Design-Along

Well, it’s for knitters too, but I only crochet πŸ™‚ It’s a new group on Ravelry where a bunch of people each make a design in 3 months on the same theme. The first theme is Gardens.Β It’s being run by Alyssa, who is also bloggingΒ about it.

I think it’s a great idea and should be a lot of fun and a good learning curve about the design process. I have so far tried sketching ideas and making stuff for myself based on the sketches, some of which have worked better than others… So it will be good to be trying out this process alongside others of varying degrees of experience πŸ™‚

The first step has been to collect images for a mood board. Everyone in the group was supposed to contribute at least one picture, but that rule has been relaxed as this is the first one and latecomers would have been excluded that way. But most people (like me) couldn’t limit ourselves to just one anyway so there are in fact 3 mood boards!

I contributed three images I found online which are on board 3. Although I love informal semi-wild gardens best, for crochet I was drawn to the very formal gardens and looked at historical gardens, medieval to 17th century, for my inspiration. Knot gardens in particular intrigued me as I have just learned how to make cables in crochet (yay, Aran jumpers! :D) and there are some similarities in form.

So I’ve done some sketching and I might go for a bag as I am too much of a beginner to contemplate doing all the sizing required for a garment at this stage! I haven’t got a sketch which isn’t tiny and scratty so I can’t post one yet πŸ™‚ I expect I shall write an update to this project at some point, and if you’re more interested then you could join Ravelry and even join the group to watch. Not everyone in the group has to join in!

I thought it might be fun to have a little round pond in my garden. Not sure if I can work in an actual fountain, but I decided to try to make a ripply pond which implies it might have a fountain in the middle. I had no idea if it was possible to crochet round the back post in the round so I tried anyway. The increases were a challenge as they tended to get a bit twisty until I found a better way. No idea if I did it ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ but here is what I made!

Ripply pond.

I have since added a wall round the edge. I’m undecided whether I think it works or not, but it is fun to doodle with yarn! I shall try the pattern with a simple flat pond too and see which is better. When I have a pattern that is… There are still so many ways I could work my idea.

I feel like it would be useful to have a nice ring binder for design ideas, with a section for this project and sections for other projects too. It’s on my to do list… don’t hold your breath…

The other images are so lovely though that I keep looking at them and getting distracted πŸ™‚ but I just don’t have any great ideas how to turn them into crochet, except perhaps the cacti… πŸ™‚ but I could always make 2 projects! Or some little things alongside the main one! Actually, I did have a thought about a rose trellis…

Designing is fun! I love the ideas stage πŸ™‚ I enjoy starting projects and coming up with ideas and trying things out. Not so great at the plugging away middle bit and as for the finishing off, well, that tends to finish me off! But that is a while off yet πŸ˜€

May 25, 2011 at 8:11 PM 1 comment

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