Category Archives: how to

Victorian Snowdrop Garden

Lost Garden by Helen Shrimpton

I have been beavering away at a new blanket: Lost Garden, another gorgeous pattern from Helen Shrimpton. This one really is a joy and very relaxing to make.

The yarn is Stylecraft Special DK and the colours are, from the top: Lincoln, Cream, Stone and Parchment.

The hook is 4.5mm

Helen has taken her inspiration from the Lost Gardens of Heligana favourite place of mine, full of history, magic and delight.

This blanket will be a wedding present for the daughter of one of my closest friends. The colours are to go with her sitting room – a lap blanket to fold over a sofa and use for romantic snuggling in front of the TV. ❤ ❤

crochet snowdrop mandala

Not a palette I would have chosen, but I am finding it oh so calming to work with.

crochet blanket

The photo above shows the truest colours and was taken in Egypt. It was my early morning project before the rest of the house was up and doing.

The colours and their placement have got a lot of attention in the Helen’s Hookaholics Facebook Group. Some have said it looks Victorian, like a Meissen Plate and like Snowdrops. I love all these references – especially the snowdrops.

This is just before I start to square the corners.

A few people have asked me to give the colour order, so here goes:

Lost Garden by Helen ShrimptonRounds 1 – 10: Cream

Round 11: Parchment

Round 12: Lincoln

Round 13: Stone

Round 14: Parchment

Round 15: Stone

~

crochet snowdrop mandalaRounds 16 – 18: Parchment

Round 19: Lincoln

Round 20 and 21: Cream

Round 22: Lincoln

~

crochet blanket

Round 23: Lincoln

Round 24 – 26: Parchment

Round 27: Stone

Round 28: Cream

Round 29 – 32 : Parchment

~

Round 33 and 34: Parchment

Rounds 35 and 36: Stone

Round 37: Parchment

Round 38: Lincoln

Round 39: Parchment

Round 40: Lincoln

Round 41: Cream

Round 42: Lincoln

Round 43: Cream

Round 44 and 45: Parchment

~

 

Rounds 46 – 50: Parchment

 

 

and just in case you were wondering what it might look like in just two colours:

grey and white

It could look rather sophisticated in just grey and white don’t you think?

And for the next bit – the corners, see this post.

Free Pattern: Pixie Hat

free knitting pattern

This is for a newborn – 3 month old baby

The pattern has been tested by Tialys, pop across to see her beautifully stylish version made especially for her new great-nephew. Thank you Tialys!

Hat

Materials:

Stylecraft Special DK, Needles: Size 9 (3.75mm) and Size 8 (4mm)

Abbreviations:

yrn           yarn round needle

stst           stocking stitch

K2tog      knit two together

 

Starting at the rim of the hat, using Size 9 (3.75mm) needles and Lavender

Cast on 73sts

Next Row: K

Next Row: P1, (yrn, P2 tog) to the end.

Starting with a K row, work 6 rows of stst.

Change to no 8 needles and Cypress

Next Row: K

9 rows moss st.

Change to Meadow

Starting with a K row, work in stst

After two rows change to Pistachio

Continue in stst until work measures 9.5 cm (straighten out st st border to measure) ending with a P row.

Next Row: (K8, K2tog) to the last 3 sts, K3

Stst 3 rows

Next Row: (K7, K2tog) to last 3 sts, K3.

Stst 3 rows

Next Row: (K6, K2tog) to last 3 sts, K3.

Next row: P

Next Row: (K5, K2tog) to last 3 sts, K3.

Next Row: P

Next Row: (K4, K2tog) to last 3 sts, K3.

Next Row: P

Next Row: (K3, K2tog) to last 3 sts, K3.

Next Row: P

Next Row: (K2, K2tog) to last 3sts, K3.                                  24 sts

Next Row: P

Next row (K1, K2tog) to last 3 sts, K3

Next Row: P

Shape Point

Next row: K5, K2tog, K3, K2tog, K5

Next Row: P

Next row: K3, (K2tog, K2) x3

Next Row: P

Next row K1, (K2 tog, K2) x2,  K2tog, K1.         9sts

Next Row: P

Next row (K1, K2tog) x3

Next Row: P

Next row K2tog x 3

Next Row: P

Next row K3 tog

Break yarn and pull through leaving at least 30cm for sewing up.

 

To Make Up

  1. Sew from the point to the rim in mattress stitch, working on the reverse side for the stst of the curled rim.

Copyright: Sandra Dorey

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I am happy for you to sell anything you make using my patterns. It would be great if you could credit me as the designer.

I’d love to see photos of what you make. You can tag them on Instagram.          #wilddaffodilpixie

Please respect my pattern, it is for your own use. Please do not pass it on to anyone else except by a link to this post – thank you.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

If you try the pattern I’d love to know how you get on. Feedback most welcome.

Would you like a Pixie Point Jacket to go with it?

Sweet Pea baby jacket and hat, Flower FairyHere is a link to the free pattern: Flower Fairy Jacket with Pixie Points

 

1,568 Sawdust Hearts

Thanks to Cathy of Nanacathydotcom, I am taking part in a beautifully poignant Sawdust Heart project curated by Untangled Threads.

My Sawdust Heart is decorated in Memory of my Great Uncle, John Henry Absalom

who died, aged 17, on 10th July, 1916, in the Battle for Mametz Wood on the Somme in France. (photo courtesy of my second cousin HA)

His body was never found but his name is recorded on the Thiepval Memorial, northern France, which commemorates 72,246 soldiers missing in action.

I ordered some organic cotton printed with Welsh Dragonssawdust heart

I found this project surprisingly difficult to do. Each time I started thinking about what to do I felt shaky and anxious.

My Grandfather was 11 when his beloved brother John left for France, never to return. My Grandfather never got over it and would talk to me of John with tears in his eyes. He hated anything to do with War, as did my father, who fought in the RAF in WW2.

In November 2016 I had the huge honour of being present at a very special ceremony at a school in Nailsea honouring the fallen, including my Great Uncle John.

Being born on Armistice Day has always held great meaning for me, and as a child, I thought of my birthday as Peace Day. I donate to the Poppy Appeal, but I wear a white poppy. My father was proud to fight in ‘A War to End All Wars’ ….. or so he thought ….. sadly human conflict continues.peace poppy

My initial ideas for the heart were far too complicated which meant every time I made a start I hit a hurdle. I did a trial run and decided that would be ‘good enough’, or it would never be finishedsawdust heart

At last it was ready to send.

In the back I tucked a copy of the letter John wrote home to his family

sawdust heart

Letter:

 

France, 13th 1916

 

Dear Mother and All,

Received your most welcomed parcel safely everything was allright packed a treat.

You can imagine how glad I was to receive it, quite a change from our Army diet, hoping you will continue sending them the same, the battery fitted my flash lamp a treat. Received John Bull and Reynolds a few days ago. We have had glorious weather up to date with the exception of a few showers just what you can expect this month.

Our furlow have been cancelled for the time being, but I think we will get it shortly again as they tell me that they often cancel it out here and in a few weeks it starts again.

We are going back to the line again tonight but it is a very quiet place.

Now that the weather is coming we are much more comfortable wile in the trenches.

According to the papers the allies intending to advance all along the line. The sooner it comes the better. Well as we are barred from saying to much about our doings out here I will conclude hoping to find you all as it leaves me in the best of health.

Yours etc John

mind write by return JHA

~

Tomorrow I go with Cathy to the Armistice Commemoration gathering.

 

 

 

Cosmic Cal: Part 9 and beyond

cosmic cal, cotton crochet

I finished Part 9 of the Cosmic Cal designed by Helen Shrimpton

all but the final row of Crab Stitch.

At this point the bedspread has taken 2 and a half Whirls and just over half of a Whirlette. There is only a little of the Jumping Jelly Whirl left as you can see in the photo above.

3mm hook

The width is just over a metre

Cosmic cal in Scheepjes Whilr

which would be fine for a single bed, but I wanted it to go on the double in my guest bedroom – (to go with the crazy chandelier) – so it needs to be a bit bigger.

Continuing with my account of how I arranged the colours and made some additions:

Part 9

Rounds 91, 92 and 93 were worked in the Citrus Whirlette and then I continued with the Jumping Jelly to make a round or Helen’s newly invented Slanting Clusters, which she demonstrates in this You Tube tutorial video for Part 9.

cosmic cal

Row 95 was worked in the Jumping Jelly and I did not work the last row (Crab stitch) of the Cal.

Beyond Part 9

To expand the design, I added rows from Parts 4 and 5 – the Sunbursts.

This would have been quite simple if I had decided to just repeat these rows, adjusting the stitch count accordingly, but I decided I wanted to see if I could get the Sunbursts to fan out a little more – so here goes!

The tricky bit was how to judge the amount of yarn needed …scheepjes whirl and cotton 8

There was about half a Rosewater Cocktail Whirl left and a little under half of the Citrus Whirlette. The wonderful members of the Scheepjes Whirl Facebook group have been such an amazing support for this project.

I just asked the question and got immediate answers about which yarn would go with the colours already in the bedspread: Blueberry Scheepjes Whirlette and  Scheepjes Cotton 8 in Light Blue Green, Fuchsia and Sea Green.

The Cotton 8 is a little thicker than the Whirl yarn and pure cotton (the Whirls are a Cotton and Acrylic mix) but they work in well.

To blend the orange at end of the Jumping Jelly with the magenta and turquoise mix of the the next bit of the Rosewater Cocktail, I worked rows as follows (US terms):

A round of half-doubles in Fuschia,

A round of doubles in Rosewater Cocktail,

A round of singles in Sea Green Cotton 8

2 rounds to create the Star Stitch in Rosewater Cocktail

A round of singles in Sea Green

Edge

I mainly followed the pattern for Part 4 of the Cosmic Cal, but spaced the starting semicircles of the Sunbursts at 35 stitches apart instead of the 25 sts in the pattern.

To find the right positions for these sunbursts, I found the middle of each side and marked the centre of the Sunbursts with stitch markers.

To get the Sunbursts to fan out more than in the pattern I kept the stitches in between to rows of single crochets (instead of dcs) and added some chain sts between the groups of trebles and treble picots (Round 61 of the pattern)

crochet, adding to Cosmic Cal

In the next round instead of ch3 between each group, I did ch5 in the first and last gap and ch 4 in the other gapsfanning out the sunbursts

 

The Rosewater Cocktail Whirl came to an end in this Round and I started the Blueberry Whirlette.

For the sunbursts to lie flat I skipped a st before starting the sunburst and at the end, I also increased a stitch either side of the central point.adding an edge

 

crochet

crochet edge

I do make life tricky for myself sometimes.

Two more Rounds to go ……..

Joining in with Frank’s Photo Challenge : Colourful

 

 

Cosmic Cal Parts 7 – 8

With Part 6 of the Cosmic Cal completed,

timourous beasties

doesn’t it look perfect with this chair covered in a luxurious fabric by ‘Timorous Beasties‘…..

…….. on to Part 7 in which we meet the dastardly Cosmic Stars!!!

Helen’s You Tube tutorial for Part 7 is  here.

Continuing with the Jumping Jelly Whirl until completing Round 78, I worked Round 79, the first part of the Cosmic Stars, in Citrus Whirlette.

I don’t know if it is because I am left-handed and following a right-handed video, or because I was using a 4 ply cotton yarn which has no give, but I just could not get the placement of the spokes right – stitch markers to the rescue!

cosmic stars

There was much chat on the FB groups about these stars and I was near to giving up on them when one wonderful person suggested working into front posts instead of front loops and this worked much better for me. Phew!DSC_0580

By the time I had worked along one side I was down to only needing the bottom middle marker to show me the way

cosmic stars

Finding the ‘eye’ of the star in the completing row was tricky, so I employed a knitting needle to make the hole big enough to get my hook throughCosmic Cal, free pattern

Cosmic Cal, free pattern, crochet

I was so relieved to get to the end of those Stars, knowing I would never have to make them again!

However, lots of people said they loved them and are making several more Cosmics including the Stars.

Mercifully Part 8 was delightfully relaxing as I continued into the orange section of the Jumping Jelly.

Part 9 to come.

Cosmic Cal Parts 5 – 6

Continuing with my account of making the Cosmic Cal designed by Helen Shrimpton …

Scheepjes Whirl Rosewater Cocktail x 2; Jumping Jelly x 1; Scheepjes Whirlette Citrus

3mm hook

Parts 1 and 2

cosmic cal part 1

crochet cosmic cal

Parts 3 and 4

cosmic cal

Part 5cosmic cal

The Rows of Star Stitches, Rows 50 and 51 of the pattern, were made with the yellow yarn at the centre of the second Rosewater Cocktail Whirl.

The yarn was cut at the end of Row 51.

rosewater cocktail

 

Row 52 was made continuing with the yarn of the first Whirl, up until the end of part 4, finishing with the dark blue

 

I started Part 5, Row 61, continuing with the yellow from the centre of the second Rosewater Cocktail Whirl until the last Row of Part5, Row 66, which I worked in the Citrus Whirlette.

(with hindsight I wish I had worked this row in either dark blue or turquoise so that it showed up the sunburst pattern more)

Part 6

cosmic cal

Part 6 continued with the Rosewater Cocktail until Row 71.

I cut the yarn and

DSC_0564

Started Row 72 with the Central Lilac colour of Jumping Jelly

The Crochet Along has 9 parts altogether.

Cosmic 4

 

Sheepjes whirlI am thoroughly enjoying following Helen Shrimpton’s Cosmic Crochet Along (Cal). She really is an outstanding designer with plenty of challenges to keep you on your crocheting-toes.

Following  Part Two came the excitement of Part 3 in which we would be learning a new stitch – Star Stitch!star stitch

Cute!

But first there were a few more rows to square up the hexagon……

The rows of doubles and trebles (US) in this 4ply cotton yarn were getting to look a bit like a string vest in the corners so I decided to add a bit of texture in the form of popcorns and bead stitches.

To keep in with the Cosmic theme, I’m calling them Sputniks

cosmic corners

The yellow for the two rows of Star Stitch came from the beginning of my second ball (yarn cake) of Rosewater Cocktail.

I continued with the first cake, which was now moving into the pink mixed with turquoise.

The photo below shows Parts 3 and 4 completedcosmic cal

I was thrilled that the first Whirl just made it to the end of Part 4.

The tail of yarn you can see was all that was left!

Joining in with

Linky (1)

 

Cosmic Crochet Along

Behind the scenes I have been beavering away at Helen Shrimpton’s current Crochet Along, the Cosmic Cal 

and I have just completed Part 6cosmic cal

Currently measuring 32″ x 35″.

Some of you might have seen my progress on Instagram.

Having seen so many wonderful creations using gradient yarn, I was eager to try it and after much deliberation went for Rosewater Cocktail, a Scheepjes Whirlrosewater cocktail

You can see all the other colourways here.

It was not easy to choose so I joined the Facebook Group Scheepjes Whirl Creations! 

I could then see all the wonderful things that have been made with Whirls and how each colour looks when it is made up. What a wonderfully helpful community crochet groups are. I’ve learnt so much and been able to ask loads of questions. It has been an enriching experience.

Unsure of how much yarn the blanket would take, I bought 2 Rosewater Cocktails and a Citrus Whirlette as I already knew I wanted to mix up the colours a bit.

But a few rows in I realised I might want to add more colours and bought a Jumping Jelly Whirl.

Scheepjes Whirls, Rosewater Cocktail and Jumping Jelly

In a series of blog posts I will describe how I used the Whirls and Whirlettes together:

I wanted to have some turquoise in the centre so I wound off the dark blue of the outsidescheepjes whirl

Cosmic Cals started to appear on Helen’s Hookaholics and I tried out a couple of designscosmic cal

On the left, I used a 3.50mm hook and included some of the Whirlette, on the right I used a 3mm hook and made the centre look more like a flowerDSC_0377

the centre was made with yarn that was pure turquoise

the star was made with yarn that had flecks of pink in it

 

after the turquoise I introduced a round of Citrus Whilette, which is a burnt orange.

crochet cosmic cal

and then continued with the yellow from the centre of Rosewater Cocktail.

Wanting to define the hexagon I wondered which of the blues to use

cosmic cal

and went for the darker blue with flecks of turquoise in it

(gosh how the colours change according to the light – the photo below does not show the true colours!)cosmic whirl

and then one row of lighter turquoise before returning the where I left off with the Whirl.

Continuing with the Whirl until the end of Part 2crochet cosmic cal

More to follow ……

Edit

You can see progress up to Part 4 in this post: Cosmic 4

~

And on Fridays a treat – pop along over  to Nanacathy for a good old Knit and Natter

Mandala for Little Miss M

Mandala Madness, pattern by Helen Shrimpton

My celebratory TaDah! Moment

I started making this blanket back in July 2017 when I needed a break from working with the dark colours requested by Master R.

The pattern is Helen Shrimpton’s Mandala Madness with her Spiro Star at the centre.

It is for a single bed so I stopped at Round 88 in Part 14 .

I like the way the edge is shaped at this point, so I created the next few rows to keep that shape.

crochet edge, blocking pins

Edge

Little Miss M likes orange (Spice), so the edging had to be in orange.

I made small popcorns (3dcs instead of 5) at some of the points and the simple edging is 2scs, ch 2 repeat (US terms)

Blocking was done on an old blanket laid on the floor over a carpet.blocking crochet

I smooth the blanket out – take an overhead photo which shows up any lack of symmetry;

adjust;

pin with steel blocking pins right through the carpet;

spray mist the whole thing with water, then using a damp tea towel and the iron on its highest setting I VERY lightly press round the edges only of the blanket, reheating the iron when necessary (it has to be unplugged to reach);

I then lightly pressed the yellow and turquoise pointy bits so that they would lie flatter;

left it in situ over night to thoroughly dry.

Stylecraft SpecialDK and a 4.5mm hook – the blanket mearures 4’8″ across

List of colours (mostly chosen by Little Miss M):

Spiro Star Centre

Fondant, Saffron, Fondant, Cloud Blue, Bluebell, Bright Pink, Spice

Mandala Madness Part 2

Meadow, Turquoise, Fondant,

Part 3

Wisteria, Saffron, Wisteria, Sunshine,

Part 4

Spice

Part 5

Aspen, Pistachio, Cloud Blue, Bluebell

Part 6

Soft Peach, Duck Egg, Fondant

Part 7

Lobelia, Petrol, Bright Pink, Spice, Turquoise,

Part 8 

(My favourite part!)

Bright Pink, Cloud Blue, Saffron, Bright Pink,

Part 9

Meadow, Pistachio, Aspen, Sunshine

Part 10

Bluebell, Soft Peach, Meadow, Fondant, Bluebell, Cloud Blue

Part 11

Bright Pink, Spice, Turquoise, Fondant, Candy Floss, Bluebell

Part 12

Bright Pink, Spice, Saffron, Meadow

Part 13

Turquoise, Spice, Fondant

Part 14 

and Edge

Bluebell, Bright Pink, Petrol, Sunshine, Spice

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I could never have made this without the fabulous video tutorials by Esther at Its All in a Nutshell.

Huge thanks to Esther and Helen.

~~~~~~~~

Joining in with Ginny’s Yarn Along. She asks us to add a book that we are reading, but I rarely read books nowadays. I do however watch DVDs whilst crocheting or knitting and one I have thoroughly enjoyed recently is this documentary about Gauguin, which gives a fascinating account of his difficult and colourful life

DSC_0257

 

More Notan inspired designs

Put three different coloured sheets one on top of the other and cut through all three layers together. Then have fun arranging the pieces you’ve created.

Add a few doodle decorations if you like.

Use camera settings, photo-editing or Photoshop to play around with different effects.

Have fun!

And then there are the offcuts to play with….

DSC_0328

Great for greetings cards.  And I’m wondering about printing some out on canvas. They remind me of 1960’s designs. I think they would look good in a child’s bedroom or playroom, do you?

Click on any picture to see it larger

There are quite a lot of You Tube tutorials about creating Notan designs – This one is a simple one to get you started.

Gallery

Notan Butterflies

This gallery contains 4 photos.

Letter

Notan, the letter A, paper cut art

My entry in our One-a-Week Photo Challenge. 

The Letter A

I came across the Japanese Art of Paper Cutting called Notan, which uses positive and negative space. Go to Pinterest to see the most amazing examples.

The photo was taken using the ‘Sketch’ setting on my Nikon D5200.

Step – by – step:

DSC_0291

A piece of A5 coloured paper and an A4 background

Notan, paper art, the letter A

notan, paper art, letter A

paper art, Notan, letter A

It needs to go on a coloured background

notan6-1

Couldn’t resist a bit of doodling, and then it needed to go on a black background. Now some of the doodling looks like cut-outs.

Notan and doodling

This is such a good activity to do with children aged 4 onwards.

The designs would make great greetings cards.

Please leave your link in the comments – Cathy and I always look forward to seeing each interpretation of the prompt – she has a corker this week!

Paper Games with the Boys

Last week there was an Inset Day at the school so the boys, Big Bro 7 and Little Bro 5 came to me. They absolutely LOVE playing drawing consequences – I expect you know the game .. but just in case you don’t I’ll describe it.

playing consequences

Tear A4 paper into half, lengthways.

Each person has a strip of paper.

Without showing the others, draw a hat at the top of the paper and then fold the paper over to hide the drawing except for a couple of lines to show where the face should go. The papers then get passed to the next person.

Everyone draws a face and folds the paper again, leaving the lines of the neck showing.

Next the body is drawn, leaving lines for the placement of the legs.

The legs are drawn leaving lines for the feet.

Five lines are put at the bottom and the paper is passed round for one letter to be added in any space at each turn. This will create the name of the character.

Then we all open the paper and laugh at what we have drawn, and try to pronounce the names. We usually have to play at least 4 rounds before they want to move on to something else.

Next we hid our names in a secret design.

In pencil, draw a central line and write your name in clear bold letters, touching the line.

DSC_0566

Turn the paper round and draw a mirror image of each letter, touching the original letter.

Turn the paper so that the first letter is at the bottom of the page as in the picture.

With a pen or crayon, start to pick out lines and features to make a symmetrical pattern.

Keep going and make it as intricate as you can

The boys got into the secret element of it and went for further disguise. I have smudged out their names but I hope you get the ideaSecret hidden names

The idea is that the pattern looks like a design, it is only when it is held sideways and the right way up that the name can be seen. Or you can just continue creating the design until the letters are entirely obscured.

After all the drawing we got out under that clear blue sky …. to the woods and beyond …

DSC_0574

but more of that tomorrow as our Photo Challenge prompt is WALK

On the hook this Friday

mandala madness with spirostar centre

Can you see the hint of a darker turquoise?

This is how she looked just after I added that row:crochet table cloth

Sitting on the table I am making her for. I did wonder whether to stop here and leave it as a large mat for the table as it looked so pretty, but I’m itching to see what this pattern looks like when finished, so on I went.

I’ve had the mahogany table for years and I love the details in the design. I had to take it outside to get a decent photo of it.

vintage mahogany table

DSC_0576

As you can see it is not easy to clean!

The crochet pattern is Mandala Madness by Helen Shrimpton and I have used Spiro Star in the centre. You can see my tutorial here.

I am using Scheepjes Cotton Bonbon and a 2mm hook.

It will measure approximately 1m across when completed.

In the top picture I have just started the 10th ball of the main colour.

It measures 29″ or 74cm across.

The background is one of my unfinished abstract paintings on canvas in acrylic paint.

Pop over to Nanacathy for her weekly gem ‘Knit and Natter Friday’ where you can chat about all things yarny.

 

In a Watering Can on Monday

watering-can as vase

I was picking flowers in the garden when a neighbour stopped by for a chat, knowing I might be some time I popped the flowers in the watering can – boom! right there – perfect  for IAVOM!

They did make it into a vase as well. (but to me they look better in the can!)

ceramic vases and recycled teabags

The ceramic vases are the ones I bought at the Studio Pottery near Solva, Pembrokeshire, Wales. You can see these sculptural vases in detail in this post.

To cheer up a dark corner I added tea-light holders made of used tea bags.

re-purposed used teabags

My fascination with turning rubbish into art has taken me off at a teabag tangent.

I tear open used teabags, empty out the leaves and then dry them. They can then be used like paper, you can see a greetings card I made here.

For today – some papier-mâché tea-light holders.

teabag art

Add some pressed Japanese Maple leaves between the layers and hey presto a Teabag Tealight!

I think the spiky maple leaves look a bit witchy – do you? Good for Halloween?

Pop across to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden to see what gardeners all over the  world are putting in their vases this Monday.

Photo Tutorial: Spiro Star centre for Mandala Madness

Mandala Madness is such a wonderful pattern created by Helen Shrimpton. Go to Google images to see the multitude of fabulous mandalas that have been created using Helen’s pattern.

I enjoyed doing her Spiro Star pattern so much for the Nuts About Squares CAL, that I experimented with putting it at the centre of Mandala Madness – I’m really pleased with how it turned outMM

and just had to try it in another colourway.

SpiroStar at the centre of Mandala Madness

A few people have asked me to explain how to marry the two together so here goes:

Make the Spiro Star up until Round 11

I followed the Spiro Star video tutorial by Esther from Its All In a Nutshell.

If you prefer a written pattern there is one on Helen’s site: with Photo tutorial.

About 40 years ago, I learnt to crochet from an American Book so all the crochet terms I use are US terms. And, I am left-handed, which you will probably notice in the photos. I have made a few slight variations in the way Spiro Star is worked, which I explain below, but you can simply follow the above tutorials until Round 11 if you prefer and go straight to Joining Round 1.

I am using a 3.50mm Drops Circus hook and Scheepjes Stonewashed 4ply cotton and acrylic yarn.

Round 1: Colour = Moon Stone

Starting with a Magic Ring, work a Ch3 then 15 DC giving you 16 sts.

DSC_0563

The pattern suggests you cut the yarn at this stage, but I try to minimise sewing in as much as possible, so after closing the circle with a slip st in the first Ch3, I open up the loop and pull the whole ball of yarn through and pull tight,DSC_0564 leaving the thread at the back whilst I work the next round.

DSC_0565

Round 2: Colour = Rose Quartz

Worked as the above tutorials suggest.

DSC_0566

Round 3: Colour = Rose Quartz

At the end of the round this is how it looks front and back.

I mark which stitch I’m aiming for to start the next round and working on the back

DSC_0569

slip st. up to it. (click on any photo to see it larger)

Then, turn your work to work from the front.

Start the next round as instructed.

Round 4 and 5: Colour = Moon Stone

Again, I have not cut the yarn, but pulled the whole ball through the loop as before.

Front:

DSC_0577

Back:

DSC_0578

The slip stitching hardly shows on the back.

DSC_0579

Rounds 6,7,8, 9 : Colour = Citrine

Spiro star

Rounds 10 and 11: Colour = Moon Stone

Slip st along the back, from Round 5, doing 2 chain sts at the end to get in the right position to start with a bphd.

(don’t cut the thread, it will be used for one of the Joining rounds)

Spiro Star in Scheepjes Stoewashed

Joining Round 1: Colour = Pink Quartzite

Working mainly in the back loops (bl).

Work a standing sc in the sc before any fpdc (which is the point of the star),

*sc the next two sts together, sc, 2 blscs in the next st, 2blhds in next st, 2bldc in next 2sts, 2bltrs into next st, bltr, 2bltrs into next st, 2bldcs into next 2sts, 2blhds into next st, 2blscs into next st, sc.*DSC_0568 (1)

Repeat from * to * all the way round until the last repeat

at the end of this repeat, missing the final sc, slst into the standing sc to close.

Joining Round 2: Colour = Moonstone

joining Spiro Star to Mandala Madness

On the back of the work, slp st with the Moon Stone yarn into position. (into the joining slst).

(If using a fresh colour, join in any sc just before the sc2tog of the previous row)

Ch1 and do a bpsc in the standing sc from the round below, missing out the star point stitch, (effectively dec 1 st at each star point) bpsc in each st until the next star point st, miss this st. Continue round the petals and join with a slst to close the round.

Joining Round 3: Colour = New JadeDSC_0571 (1)

Start on the 4th st back from the star point.

Standing sc,DSC_0572 DSC_0573

sc, miss 4 sts, sc, sc, **ch 5, bpsc round the post of the centre tr on Joining Round 1, ch5, sc in the st 4 sts back from lowest point, sc, miss4 sts, sc, sc.**

Rpt from ** to ** til the last petal, ch5, bpsc on central tr from Joining Round 1, ch5, slst in the standing sc to close the round.

Joining Round 4: Colour = New jade

As Round 17 in Mandala Madness ( which is in Part 2 video made by Esther )

Joining Round 5: Colour = New Jade

as Round 18 in Mandala Madness

Joining Round 6: Colour = Larimar

This is very similar to Round 19 of Mandala Madness with a few little tweaks.

Start with a standing sc in the back loop of the st before the centre of the petal in Joining Round 2. (The central st has the bpsc worked in New Jade on it in Joining Round 1). DSC_0574 (1)Work this together with the sc in front of the bpsc behind the petal from Joining Round 1 , miss a st at the front and work a bpsc through the next st on the petal with the 2nd sc behind in Joining Round 1.

If you watch Esther’s video tutorial, I expect/hope this will make sense.

The stitch count to find those two central stitches at the top of the petal is the only thing that is different in this Round, so I go by the position of the bpsc in New Jade (Green) rather than counting the stitches.

photo tutorial, Spiro Star to Mandala Madness

Feel free to contact me if you get stuck!

So! We’ve done it! We’ve joined the two patterns together! Phew! I hope it worked for you.

Now move to the instructions for Mandala Madness 

You are ready to work Round 20 of Mandala Madness and continue with Helen’s pattern.

Enjoy!

Let me know how you got on. Any problems, please let me know. I am usually able to reply within 24 hours. This pattern has not been tested by anyone else so I would love to know if it works for someone else.

My heartfelt thanks go to Helen and Esther for the wonderful patterns and the amazing videos that helped me through them. A big thank you to both Helen and Esther for giving me their permission to share these instructions with you.

Go check out what else these fantastically talented and generous women have to offer – it makes my head spin to think of all the hours they give to this wonderful crochet community of ours.

Waste

teabag art, greetings card, re-usable greetings card, collage

lend me your ‘shell-like’

this girl dislikes pink

innovate for her

~

Ronovan’s Haiku Prompt words this week are PINK and SHELL.

Yikes – how to marry that with what I had already planned for our Photo Challenge prompt of WASTE.

It is the extra creative challenge I like to give myself each week. Well Miss E does not like pink – I know that card does have a bit of pink on it but ……. hey! I did my best!

~

Anyone who has been reading my blog for a while knows I’m an obsessive recycler AND like to try new crafty things, so this week’s Photo Prompt is right up my street!

~

Life-cycle of a tea bag once it enters my house:

It sits in its box in a cupboard full of all manner of black, white, green, herb and fruit teas. I have at least 12 different varieties in there.

Then in it goes –  into my favourite mug

Nevis design from Dunoon

This is a mug from Dunoon. I wanted a big white bone china mug. I contacted Dunoon and asked if I could have the Nevis Design in plain white – I could! and for about £10 cheaper than the decorated ones – I got two. I LOVE them. ❤

After first use the tea bags sit in the little coloured dish to be used, three together, for another cup.

I told you – obsessive recycler!

And now, courtesy of Pinterest, I have discovered there is a whole new world of art materials to be explored – used Tea Bags! I was astonished to see how much amazing art has been created with used tea bags. You can see some examples on my Pinterest Page, ‘Art Tea’.

Of course I had to give it a go.

So instead of going into the compost after their second use, the tea bags are now emptied and dried. (The leaves still go in the compost) My bean-sprouter works well as a drying rack.

drying teabags for tea bag art

Cutting or tearing some and leaving others as two ply paper

prepared tea bags

Now ….. how to turn them into art ……

 

A bit of collage using some paper napkins and some hand and machine stitching.

The circular tea bag has a picture of a cup stuck on the inside with Modge Podge and  is re-stuffed with a little wadding. I downloaded the picture of the cup from this Education Site

teabagart

I’m wondering about this art form – it nudges towards the “just because you can, do you think you should”. I tried putting it on canvas to go with my ‘making art with found and discarded objects’ collection, adding and expanding on the Beach Clean Art theme. Using waste in art.

I’m not sure it stands up as an artwork so I turned it into a greetings card, with packaging paper put between the layers to stiffen the card so that it will stand upgreetings card of teabags with machine stitching

A little pocket for a gift (in this case a fresh teabag) or message. Then it can be recycled once more and re-used as a card with a different message in the pocket.

And then I realised there was a certain person about to have her 10th birthday – perfectre-usable greetings card, tea bag art

She was thrilled with it and her friends intrigued.

I’m really not sure if my experiments will produce ‘art’ that I feel worthy of exhibiting , but has been fun to try and I can’t throw a teabag away at the moment –  I’m amassing quite a collection, so I’ll have to come up with something arty to do with them.

Update

Coincidentally, I’ve just seen that there is a programme on BBC2 tonight about the making of tea bags: http://www.radiotimes.com/tv-programme/e/fsq8rq/inside-the-factory–s3-e1-tea-bags/

and here is the programme on BBC iPlayer:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b08ywhdn/inside-the-factory-series-3-1-tea-bags

The sheer scale of tea bag production is mind boggling – and I’m shocked to discover that 25% of the materials used to make tea bags is plastic – Yuck!

 

 

 

Recycle: trousers

DSC_0246

I have vowed via my 17 for 2017 Challenge not to buy any new clothes in 2017.

Part of this challenge is to recycle or upcycle existing clothes. These trousers were bought over 12 years ago and I haven’t worn them for at least 10 years. The colour is a bit startling all in one block, slightly darker and more purple in reality. We are in the middle of a heatwave here in the UK, I need some shorts, so …..

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The (long) shorts come just below my knobbly knees and I shall leave them to fray with wear. The colour is more bearable when there is less of it.

With the bonus of two pieces to play with …

DSC_0248

…. on the left an idea for a small shoulder bag, just right for a child to take to the beach and on the right, fabric for textile books or another piece of textile art – fun!

Have you revamped any clothes recently?

 

Hearts and free downloads

Valentine’s Day is on its way. I’ve been having fun making cards for my 8 grandchildren aged 4 – 9.

Photos of Love Rocks and sketch book pages were printed onto 160gm A4 white card.

dsc_0259

I measured the card into 2″x 4″ sections

dsc_0261

and cut with a craft knife

dsc_0262

giving me enough pieces to make 5 cards.

dsc_0265

Using double-sided sellotape in each corner

dsc_0266

I fixed the two layers together.

Then added some heart stickers and made 5 cards

dsc_0267

They still need a little more decorating to personalise them.

On the next batch I used a doodle page

dsc_0268

Would you like to have a go?

Here is the link to the You Tube clip  I learnt from,

and some PDFs for you to download, just click on the title.

pinks

pnk

tendrils

tendrils

love-rocks

love rocks

If you download them I’d love to see what you make.

 

Ammonites

Eleonora over at Coastal Crochet has created a cute Ammonite Pattern.

Of course, I couldn’t just make one. Once I had the pattern in my head I started making bigger and smaller ones.

dsc_0278

I thought they might combine well with my seahorses, or make some beachy greetings cards.

Ideas are swimming around …..

Thank you Eleonora for the inspiration.

Linking in with Ginny’s Yarn Along 

Ginny suggests we add a book to the post. I haven’t got a book on the go but whilst I am crocheting I’m also watching/listening to a DVD: River Cottage: Edible Seashore

Yes, I’ve been eating seaweed – yum!