Bolero Cardigan and Decorating – February 2015

My Mum came to visit in May 2014 around the time my son was born, she’d forgotten her knitting bag so started a project for me. I bought some Baby Crofter yarn in a shade called Georgie a while back and found a free pattern for a little bolero for my daughter Georgia. Life and other bits of crafting got in the way so I didn’t pick it up again until February 2015. Having completed the back and front sections, another project sidelined the cardigan once again!

I’m still working on the sleeves but have temporarily put the cardi to one side for two other projects. I’m decorating my daughter’s bedroom. It’s pink on 3 walls so far, against all my hopes and dreams but chosen by my daughter. I have yet to wallpaper the final wall but am (roughly and perhaps wildly optimistically) on track to finish in time for the big reveal 7 sleeps from now. I’m also knitting a little fairisle heart motif for Valentine’s Day and at some point I have to make and write a birthday card, bake and ice a birthday cake and try to get some sleep!

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So it’s 1:00am on my daughter’s birthday and I’ve just finished the final touches to the new bedroom. All the painting and wallpapering is done. The bed is freshly made and the birthday presents are arranged on top. The furniture is built and in place. The drawers have yet to be filled and there are a few things still to do but all in all I’m very pleased with my accomplishments. I did also finish my Valentine’s card and although I have baked the cake, I’m leaving the icing until tomorrow. I’m good but I’m not that good! This has all been achieved in spite of a chickenpox filled baby so I feel now it is time to try and achieve the most important objective of all – SLEEP!

Fast forward to May 2015 – I made a decision a few weeks ago to properly stop and finish the cardigan before I start anything else. The sleeve that I started had to be unpicked and redone but I’ve actually finally finished the whole thing! I have to confess that I have been distracted by no less than 12 other projects in the meantime. I think my Baby Crofter / Crofter obsession may also be over – there are so many Crofter things in my home now. Now, I can finally move on to my next projects free from unfinished item guilt!

Yarn Used: WI Soft and Silky 4ply Yarn in shades Blue Mix and White for the Valentines Card. Sirdar Baby Crofter in shade 148 (Georgie) for the cardigan.
Pattern: Bolero by Peter Pan (free dowload from http://www.deramores.com – no longer available)

April Cliff 2016

I’m so excited about April Cliff! Several weeks ago I bought a book called Anyone Can Papercraft (a bargain specialbuy in Aldi). It’s full of fantastic ideas, many of which I will be trying out througout 2016. DSC_0330After a lot of deliberation I went with making paper beads for this month’s challenge. To make them I cut the calendar page into tapered strips of paper. In the book the template for the strips started at 17mm going down to 10mm – I altered this so I started with 20mm rather than 17mm mainly so the tapered strips would tesselate nicely together so I wasn’t wasting any paper. I did 27 strips like this and then did 20 which started at 10mm going down to 5mm. The smaller strips were engineered so that they started or ended with Cliff’s face – I felt that I had to have some part of this project that would show off its origins!

Each strip was wound round a cocktail stick and secured with double-sided tape. I thought I was being clever here, only to find the next day when I came to varnish the beads that the tape hadn’t held and each bead had to be rewound and re-secured with actual real glue. I really should try harder at following instructions! After much fiddly gluing and several extremely satisfying full fingertip peels of hardened PVA I was left with 47 lozenge shaped beads in varying shades – quite a number of greens from the foliage in Cliff’s tropical backdrop, a few multicoloured ones from his “interesting” shirt, various bits of wall and jeans and a small number of bronzed-flesh toned beads including a personal favourite of mine which features Cliff’s eye.20160418_222305

Using memory wire I assembled the necklace with the Cliff’s eye bead flanked either side with other “facial” beads as the centrepiece and alternated each paper bead with flat round glass beads in a teal colour. I used mostly 20mm paper beads on the necklace bar the three in the middle. The bracelet is a lot less structured in design and intersperses sections of green and clear seed beads with the paper ones plus a few larger round beads, some offset opaque-ish cubes and some more of the flat, round teal ones to match the necklace. I think both the bracelet and the necklace have worked really well and I’m pleased to say that I’d probably wear them myself if they weren’t already destined for greater things in the form of the 12 Cliffs of Christmas.


I’ve just ordered a drop spindle and am hoping to try spinning paper into yarn for the next challenge – Google tells me it can be done – we’ll have to wait and see!

Materials: Memory wire (I bought mine from Fred Aldous), Beads – Gutermann flat round beads 6mm in colour 7300 (teal), Gutermann seed beads 2.2mm in colours 8535 (gold lined green) and 1005 (silver lined crystal) plus a few extras I had lying around.
Pattern: from Anyone Can Papercraft by Elizabeth Moad

Baby Bauble Number 2 – December 2014

So pretty much back to the start of this whole craft adventure and another bespoke bauble for another baby. Relatively straightforward although got a bit cocky with the decrease and did it all SSK rather than some bog-standard k2tog so had a bit of unpicking to do but all worked out in the end. It’s not as festive as Georgia’s but it’s pretty. I also did a wave one in the same colours – they looked great on the tree (and in the baby’s mouth) and have now been safely packed away for next Christmas.

Yarn Used: DMC Natura Just Cotton in shade N09 (Gris Argent)
Pattern: Making magazine – December 2012

Snood – November 2014

Several exciting things to report, my beautiful By My Baby pattern from Wool and the Gang has arrived. I now just need to decide on the yarn. It’s unfortunate that I can’t afford the proper yarn but £90 for something that I have to make myself is a little unjustifyably excessive.DSC_1113

I’ve also bought some gorgeous Debbie Bliss Winter Garden yarn to make a snood. The pattern I want to use is for a man so I’m hoping by doing it in chunky rather than super chunky yarn it should fit.

I finished the Winter Garden snood. I amended the pattern slightly to make it narrower but it fits well and it’s very soft. I used the whole skein so the amendments worked well. Had fun and games with the skein – thought I could go against years of undisputed wisdom and not roll it into a ball – several hours of untangling and bad language later, I managed to sort it out!

Yarn Used: Debbie Bliss Winter Garden in shade 05 (Silver Birch)
Pattern: Mollie Makes Issue 44

Ripple Basket – November 2014 and April 2015

DSC_0845I bought some Boodles yarn with the intention of making a storage basket for baby boy’s bedroom. I’d like to try combining the basket idea with wavy crochet. Using a very useful diagram from Pinterest, I made an oval base starting from a foundation chain of 18 stitches and did 6 rounds so endedup with 82 stitches around the oval. I decided to use a ripple pattern that started from a straight edge and adapted it slightly for the circular (ish) basket shape. I’m part way through the 5th ripple row and I’m thinking of doing 9 rows around the sides plus a straightening row to finish it off. I also want to do handles which I reckon should be easy in crochet (famous last words!)

DSC_0848The basket itself is finished. I’m relatively happy with it. It’s large size means it’s quite floppy for want of a better word but once it’s filled up it should be fine. I’ve decided to use it for storing cloth nappies. The zigzags worked OK. At least I’ve learnt how to do ripple crochet now. I need to sort out the handles so some calculations are required. I also used yet another pattern for the wavy to straight bit so the whole thing is a combination of 3 patterns plus my own madcappery.

 
UPDATE 5 months later- I want to rework the basket to make it taller with a smaller base using an extra ball of Boodles I picked up for cheap in TK Maxx. As I unpicked it, I realised that the base was about the right size, it was just the floppiness which made it seem too big. I left the first couple of rows from the sides of the original basket and worked from there changing to double rather than treble crochet. The budget Boodles is quite stiff and thicker than the other two so despite being an arse to work with (very hard on the hards and made me feel like I was getting a full bicep workout with each round) it added a lot of structure to the basket which looks much improved. I decreased the stitches in the final two rounds by only doing a single dc into the two stitches at the top of each “hill”. The whole ripple stitch has also given the basket a pleasing shell-like appearance, smiles all round and a satisfactory result to what started out as a complete experiment.

Yarn Used: Boodles Yarn in various colours – check out the website for details of what’s available, it appears to be pot luck! (www.boodlesyarn.co.uk)