Category Archives: Crochet

Plastics – to Use, or Not to Use . . .

I’ve just been reading a post in a Blog called Chris and Shana’s Waffle Experience
and had to agree with Chris’ reaction to the thought of having to do without all the things we use in everyday life, made from plastic.

I have to admit, when I learned, fairly recently, the news that even the smallest of sea life is being affected by our use of plastic, I began to feel really guilty at my using acrylic yarn in my crocheting – plus all the multitude of things used around the house, that Chris had already mentioned.

But, after sitting and thinking about it, I realised that, even if I could afford to get rid of as much plastic in my home as possible, it would make my life even harder than it already is 😦

We have very little money, so can’t afford to replace things with natural replacements – such as replacing our plastic double-glazed windows with a wood equivalent, or buying wool carpets, instead of man-made material ones – and I definitely couldn’t do without my double glazing!

It doesn’t help that I read blogs by people who are actually making all these changes a little at a time but, when I mentioned it all to my hubby, he made me realise that, if we just make a few small changes in our home ourselves, at least it would be a start, and I wouldn’t be so overwhelmed with guilt 🙂

I’m busy making a ton of xmas pressies at the moment, thus reducing my yarn stash by at least a half so, when I get to order more yarn to replace what I’ve used, sometime in the New Year, I’ve decided to pay that bit extra, and try to use as many natural products as I can, instead of just using acrylic.

I’ve found I really enjoy using cotton yarn, and I even had some silk yarn last year, that I used to make my daughter something with, but it was very expensive, for a small amount, so I’ll be looking at bamboos and other, natural, mixes when I shop next.

If it weren’t for the fact that I’m allergic to so many types of wool, I would have started the ball rolling long ago, but I’ve been told that there are some amazing natural yarns out there now, so I’m going to enjoy myself trying as many of them out as I can.

But, as far as the plastics in our home are concerned, at least we’ve stopped using plastic carrier bags when shopping now, so that’s one thing we don’t have cluttering up the place, and we re-use as much plastic packaging – that we get when receiving things through the post – as we can, too!

All those baby steps may not seem much, but if we all do it, it’s bound to make a difference – especially if the scheme, here in the UK, to put a deposit on plastic bottles goes through – then I’m sure it’ll be a good start in helping to clean up our seas, and protect our wildlife, around the world! 🙂

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Filed under Acrylics, Changes, Choices, Crochet, Ecological Disasters, Economics, Natural Yarns, Plastic Use, Self-interest, UK, Yarn

The Hellish Ordeal of the DWP Experience . . .

I’v just read an article in the Morning Star, and it really reflects the way I felt, and behaved, while going through my changeover from DLA to PIP at the beginning of this year.

To add to the stress and strains, along with paranoia, I was also grieving, which made my mental health so bad, I completely stopped the crochet I love doing, which helps to keep me as relaxed as my pain allows, both physically and mentally.

It took a good 8 months, from the start of my assessment period, for me to get back a, rather fragile at times, peace.

Do follow this link to the article, and see if you’ve had the same experience, too:

The Hellish Ordeal of the DWP Experience

 

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Filed under Benefits, Changes, Crochet, Death, Depression, Disability, Disability Issues, DLA, DWP, Health Issues, Ill Health, PIP, Welfare

There’s nothing on my Crochet page . . .

 . . . because it’s been almost eight months since I last held a crochet hook – and it was only a few days ago that I picked one up again.

It was then, that I realised just how badly I’d been depressed since I’d had to fill in the forms that would begin the changeover of my DLA to PIP, which came on 24th December, 2016 (and wan’t finished with, until April, 2017) – right at the same time that my Mum was rushed into hospital, seriously ill (she died on 1st January, 2017).

I realised, after I decided to finish some of the projects that I’d abandoned at the time this all happened and, as I slowly began to make a start on them all, that the actual act of crocheting was, in some way, and despite the pain it caused me, making my depression lift a bit and so, although it’s going to take me some time to finish all I need to, as my hands have got a lot worse since I stopped crocheting, it will at least bring me back onto my journey to a better mental health 🙂

So it might take me a while to get back into the swing of things again but, as I told my sister Lynn, yesterday: ‘At least I’ve got my Crojo back again!’ 🙂

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A Few More of My Crocheted Pieces

It’s been a while since I posted about my crochet, probably because I’ve been so busy either trying to finish Crochet-a-longs, or CALs as they’re known as in the crochet world, and also because I’ve been desperately trying to learn what I could about British Politics – I’m not sure whether to laugh, or cry, that I’ve become involved right at this time, but I’m going to persevere, which means doing an awful lot of reading!

Fortunately, there are some wonderful Bloggers around, that lay out what’s happening, and what it means for us all, so I’m now slowly begining to understand where the UK stands politically – and, boy, it’s frighteneing!

Anyhoo, I thought I’d get away from that for one evening, and continue showing you all the things I’ve been crocheting over the last year or so – I believe my last post about it was on May 3rd – here’s a link: A Few More of My Offerings

The last project I showed you was  two shrugs I’d made for the daughter of a friend but, after that, I went through another awful patch of ill health, and so couldn’t do any crocheting 😦


The next project I finished, was a Wrap, designed by a wonderful crochet designer called Annelies Baes. You can get the pattern free at this link: Flight of Fancy.

The CAL was called Scheepjes Flight of Fancy Wrap, and it was done in weekly increments. I started the project on 10th June, and finished it on 1st September.

I was really taken with the wonderful yarn used here, by a company called Scheepjeswol . With this CAL, I was using one of their yarns, called Scheepjes Linen Soft , which comprised of 47% Cotton, 27% Linen, and 26% Acrylic, which made for a strong, and durable, yarn to use.

Here’s the Project page I created on Ravelry, which gives you the details: My Flights of Fancy Wrap The colours used were gorgeous, and reminded me of peacock feather, which I love 🙂

Here’s my finished project, which I gifted to a dear friend:

2015-09-01 - Scheepjes Flight of Fancy Wrap CAL - Start-10th June


The next project I made, was finished on 19th September, and was something that I made for my daughter to give to a friend. Her friend loved kooky presents, especially if they had something to do with the body, so I crocheted her two seperately coloured, and sized, eyes – including the optic nerves, too 🙂

I had come across the pattern by chance, at this link: Crocheted Eyeball by crochetninja, and just loved the idea of it – and making it was fun, too 🙂

I used various yarns from my stash for this, mainly acrylics, if I remember true 🙂

2015-09-17 -The Eyes Have It

I’m told the recipient loved them 🙂


My next project took me a bit of time, as my health was becoming quite dicey again, and I was still working on another CAL, too.

A friend was making up a package to send over to her grandchildren, a young girl and boy, and I offered to make them something. I showed my friend some of my patterns, and she found the one she wanted among one of my favourite Amigurumi Designers – Moji Moji Design or Janine Holmes, using her real name 🙂

Janine had recently released a new design, called Katie the Caterpillar – so how could I resist? Lol

I started making the two caterpillars, and managed to finish them by October 12th, just in time for them to be shipped to their new owners in the USA 🙂

2015-10-12 - Suzanne's Caterpillars
I used acrylic yarn from my stash again, and I think a lot of it was Red Heart yarn, as I had so much of it in my stash. I used the same colours in both, but just used them in opposite ways, as you can see in the pic. That way, we hoped the children wouldn’t fight over which one owned which caterpillar 🙂

————————————————————————-

My next project, was the CAL I had started on August 2nd. I didn’t actually finish this until October 31st. This was another Scheepjswol CAL, designed by another amazing Designer that I love: Julie Yeager.

The design was called: Summer Mosaic Afghan, and you can buy the pattern from Ravelry, using the link provided 🙂

This time, the yarn used was Scheepjes Stonewashed XL, a wonderfully soft, but strong, mixture of 70% Cotton, 30% Acrylic.

Here’s the link to my Ravelry Project Page, and the colours and amounts used for it: My Summer Mosaic Afghan.

This was a pattern I loved, with a yarn I fell in love with, too. I made this CAL for Mr Night Owl, and it was fun and games trying to crochet it, where, and when, he wouldn’t see it all, as I wanted it to be a surprise for him, for our wedding anniversary that year. It was a couple of weeks late, but he forgave me when he saw it 🙂

2015-10-31 - Summer Mosaic Afghan


I have to admit to being totally exhausted by the time I finished the Afghan, and it wasn’t until almost mid-November before I took up my crochet hooks again, and that was because I had received my first box, from a company called Little Box of Crochet.

I’d come across them via my monthly crochet magazine, and the story behind their starting caught my attention, so I decided to subscribe for 6 months, to see whether I would enjoy it.

The first Box came with everything needed to make my first Little Box Project, and this was 3 different types of toadstools:

  • The first was Aminita Muscaria, or Fly Agaric. I finished this on November 10th.
  • The second was Stropharia Aeruginosa, or Verdigris Agaric. I finished this on December 12th.
  • The third was Hygrocybe Persistens, or Wax Cap. I finished this on January 15th, 2016.

 

2016-01-15 - LBC - Fly Agaric, Verdigris Agaric & Wax Cap

These were designed by Kate Bruning, of Greedy for Colour, and were made using Scheepjes Stonewashed, with a small amount of silver yarn to give them a christmassy feel – and enough to make them into tree decorations if I’d wanted to 🙂



My next project was one I made for fun. My husband, and a good friend of his, have a running joke about Wood Nymphs – and, no, I’m not getting into that, as it would take an entire new post of it’s own! Lol

Anyway, we had been invited over to his house for a meal and, as a joke, I decided to make him a Wood Nymph hat, and this was the result:

2015-11-18 - Wood Nymph Hat!

I had found some Red Heart Camouflage yarn in my stash, and so added some flowers and bells to it, then made it a caveat that he had to wear the hat whenever he went hunting! 🙂
I don’t know why, but he tells me he hasn’t been hunting ever since! Lol


On the 19th of November, my Dad died.

I was devastated, as I was too ill to travel the 360-odd miles needed, to get back to my family home, to attend his funeral.

I really didn’t know what to do with myself, and felt helpless that I couldn’t say my goodbyes to him, nor comfort my Mum the way I wanted to. I spoke a lot to Mum on the phone and, wonderful woman that she is, a few days after Dad’s death, she suggested that I crochet something that reminds me of him, and send it to her, so she could put it in the coffin with him, and so that I knew there was something of mine with Dad in his rest.

My first thoughts were of his being Irish, and that special humour he had, that every Irish person I’ve met seems to be born with, and so I decided to crochet symbols of his Irishness – one for me, one for Mr Night Owl, and one for our daughter.

I looked through all my thousands of patterns, and settled on a combination Shamrock/Four-leaved Clover for myself, a Leprechaun for hubby, as he’s as mischeivous as one himself, and a Pot-o-gold, with rainbow, for our daughter, as she has always been our symbol of wealth, happiness and joy.

A week had gone by this time, and I worried about getting them done in time for the funeral, but I managed to  finish them, one each day, by the 29th, where I then quickly packed them up, and a friend sent them, post-haste, to my Mum. Fortunately, they got there in time, and that’s where they lay now, keeping my Dad, that funny, chronic, joker company.



I have to admit to finding it hard to concentrate after that but, in early December my Little Box of Crochet, for that month, arrived. Purely for distraction, I decided to give it a try, and the design came from Heather Collins, whose Blog, Pink Milk, was one of the favourites of the Little Box team, and was something that caught my fancy, too, and so I thought I’d give it a go.

The pattern, this time, was for a wonderful pair of Wristers, made with Debbie Bliss’ Baby Cashmerino. As soon as I saw the pattern, I knew I had to make these for my daughter 🙂

Fortunately, we have the same size hands, so I was able to make them to fit her easily. I also made her a second pair, but this time with yarn from my stash, in Black and White, as she loves monochrome, too, but more to my own design 🙂

I finished making them on the 5th and 6th of December 🙂

I’ll tell you about the rest in another blog 🙂

 

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Filed under Crochet, Daughters, Death, Disasters, Family, Friendship, Health Issues, Humour, Memories, Politics

And so the wanderer returns . . .

It’s been an age – again – since I blogged anything, as I’d promised to in the new year, so, as I’m actually feeling almost human today, I decided to use what energy I’ve got to make good on that promise 🙂

I’ve been keeping all the pictures of my crochet projects in 2 folders – one folder being of the things I’ve already posted on here, and the other folder, of the things I’ve yet to post.

I had a look at the latter earlier, and couldn’t believe just how much stuff there is in there!

I’ve got nearly 50 items I’ve made since 2014 – including some large projects – and it amazed me just how much I’ve been able to do, despite my health problems getting worse.

Because of the time since I made them – and not noting down all of those impportant details for everything – I can only give you the details I can recall, so do please forgive me?

To start, I want to show you a picture of a shawl I made for a dear friend – I think the pattern I used was ‘Coraline in the Wine Country’, which I found on the Simply Collectible site, here: Wine Country Shawl-Wrap Crochet Pattern
I used Red Heart Unforgettable in Stained Glass – one of my absolute favourites 🙂
I made this in 2014, sometime in the late summer, I think, although I forgot to put a date on it 😦

2014 - Helen's Shawl

The next thing I made, was still in 2014 – a little hat & Jacket set for a friend’s doll – I’d made other outfits for her in the past, so this was no problem. I don’t remember what yarn I used, as it was a remnant from my scraps, and I made the outfit without using a pattern, so I can’t help there – I wish I’d written it down as I went along, but my memory failed me again 😦
I used tiny pearl beads as the buttons on this – I think they really set it off nicely 🙂

2014-12-27 - Hat & Shrug for Gill's Muriel Doll

My next project, was a headband for my daughter – with her wild and long dreadlocks, she uses headbands a lot to keep her hair away from her face, and I just love making diferent ones for her 🙂
For this I used a gorgeous DK yarn, a silvery-grey shimmer yarn, though I don’t remember the make of it – and have none left to have a look at the label. For the decoration, I used a lovely button/brooch thingy I bought from eBay – I got 10 of them as, although I didn’t have a project in mind when I bought them, I knew they’d look great on something – and I was right 🙂
2015-01-26 - Headband for Brex

I’m not 100% sure, but I believe it was the following pattern I used: Turban Knot Headband

My next project was for my hubby. This was now November, 2014 and, being winter time, it was really cold out, and he didn’t have a really cosy jumper to wear while out fishing, so I looked among my patterns, and came across one from the Red Heart site, called the Father Pullover. I’d only tried to make a jumper for hubby once before, and that was many years ago, when we first moved to Wales. I used to knit then, and I made him a jumper with the arms slightly longer than usual – hubby has long arms – but what I’d forgotten, was that the pattern was for a drop sleeve – so the jumper turned out suitable for an Orangutan! Lol
Anyway, I had some lovely Red Heart yarn, in just the shade of green that hubby loves, so I had a go – and I was very happy with the result 🙂 Hubby still wears this, and loves how warm it keeps him. It’s also hard-wearing, and washes well (much needed after a fishing trip), so we’re both happy 🙂
2015-01-27 - Bob's Jumper  (front)

The pattern can be found here: Fishing Pullover

The next thing I made was a summery chemise top for my daughter (I like to get things ready for the warmer season for her). I made a headband to match, using the same stitches as the top – unfortunately, I can’t remember the name of the pattern and, although I’ve searched high and low, haven’t found it, as yet. I hope I can find it again, as I remember enjoying making this – I think I had only recently learned how to make the popcorn stitch that was used in the pattern, and was having fun making them 🙂
I’ve got hundreds of patterns just for tops alone, so I’ve given up looking for the moment – but if I do find it again, and I remember, I’ll let you know what the pattern’s called 🙂
I also can’t remember the yarn I used – this was another DK shimmery one in a light silver colour, as you can see 🙂

2015-01-27 - Chemise Top & Headband for Brex

At the same time of making the chemise top, I also made a circular shrug for my daughter, too. This was from a pattern by Rachel Choi, that I got from Crochet Spot while I was still a member. I adapted the pattern, as I didn’t have quite enough of that lovely shimmery yarn to make the arms, but it turned out okay, and my daughter loved it 🙂
The fastening I used was one I found in my sewing box – I think it’s a cloak fastener, but it did the trick in keeping the two edges fastened 🙂

2015-01-27 - Circular Shrug for Brex

The pattern can be bought from here: Circular Shrug by Rachel Choi

The next thing I made, was a gift for a friend who loves Geckoes. I found a pattern to use on Ravelry, by a designer called Ellie Skene. Her pattern was free, and was easy for me to make, so I was very happy with it – as was my friend when she received it a little while later 🙂
There’s one thing I can see looking back on it now, and that is I’ve overfilled it, so the filling shows through the stitches 😦  I know better now 🙂

2015-01-27 - Gecko for Gill - top
2015-01-27 - Gecko for Gill - sideHere’s the link to the pattern: Gecko by Ellie Skene

My daughter’s boyfriend was complaining of the cold, so I then went on to make him some fingerless mitts. I used scraps from my yarn stash – probably red heart, as I’ve always got that in stock – and I used a pattern by HappyBerry to make the half-fingerless gloves he wanted.2015-01-27 - Fingerless Gloves for Eloy

 

The link to the pattern is here: Half-fingerless Gloves

This next project was, once again, for my daughter. I’d come across a wonderful pattern by Rachel Choi, on Crochet Spot, and I had a lavender DK yarn, Supersoft Baby Shimmer, that seemed perfect for the job, and just calling out to be used. I’d not made anything like this before, and was determined to give it a try. I was pleased with the result, and my daughter loved it. too 🙂
2015-02-09 - Lilac Cross Top for Brex

Here’s the link for the pattern: Diamond Eyelet Wrap by Rachel Choi

In March, 2015, I came across an amazing crochet pattern, that I knew I had to make for my daughter. She is pirate mad, and it was if the designer had her in mind when she made it 🙂
I got the pattern free, in an ebooklet with 10 other patterns, by Interweave. The Pattern was designed by Amy J. Shimel, and she called it Dread Pirate Sam (but, of course, it’s actually Captain Jack Sparrow by any other name!)
I had a lot of fun making this, and my daughter absolutely loves him 🙂
2015-03-17 - Captain Jack for Brex

Brex @ Kelburn Garden Party, July, 2014

Captain Jack, eat your heart out! Lol

Here’s a link to the free pattern ebooklet: Pattern #2: The Dread Pirate Sam by Amy J. Shimel

Well, I think that’s about enough for now – but I do promise to come back and show you some more of my projects 🙂

Hope you all have a great time with your crochet 🙂

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Top Tech Tips – the perfect crochet circle

I’ve always had problems with crocheting circles, and this seems a much better idea.
I’ll definitely have to give it a go 🙂

Cara Medus

Top tech tips - perfect crochet circles

You know the score. You’ve been making crochet circles the same way since I Don’t Know When, but they are never quite right – the seam, having to smooth out the corners… I’ve been trying to find a way of improving on the basic crochet circle where you close off each round with a slip stitch. This is easy to work and easy to count, but the slip stitch at the end of the round creates a visible seam, and you also need to stagger the increases to stop the ‘corners’ becoming obvious.

The second way of doing it is the spiral. This has the advantage of losing the seam, but it is more tricky to keep track of the stitch count (stitch markers may be needed!), and when you have finished there is a visible ‘step’ at the end which needs smoothing out. It also doesn’t work if you…

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A couple of good yarns

I’ve read the book, and couldn’t put it down – but that yarn is soooooo tempting! 🙂
Go along and have a look-see!

The Snail of Happiness

Do you enjoy a good yarn? Then this is the blog post for you…

To celebrate a month of writing and knitting, Mr Snail and I are having a little give-away. For your delight and delectation we have a package of two sorts of yarn to send anywhere in the world…

First there’s Mr Snail’s book Kirkenes Blue: a gripping yarn of intrigue and deceit under the beauty of the Northern Lights. And then there’s a ball of fabulous self-patterning 4 ply yarn. There’s 100g in the ball which is plenty to make a pair of socks or some lacy item and it’s 75% Merino wool so is lovely and soft, but with 25% synthetic fibre to make it hard wearing.

IMGP6825 Both these yarns could be yours!

If you want a chance to win this pair of yarns, simply leave a comment below; and if you want to double your chances, head…

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