A slight obsession with books

Reading and Fibrecrafts


16 Comments

Temperature blanket #2

My temperature blanket is growing nicely now. There’s still more Indigo than Violet in it, especially over the past week or so as it’s been quite chilly at times, but I’m hoping to see some more Violet this month and maybe some Heather too.

You can see the hexagonal shape of it much more now that it’s a bit bigger. I’m really pleased that I chose to go with that shape instead of trying to do a rectangle or square with the hexies.

02hexies-03It can be a bit tricky seeing where my next hexie is to go though, so I’ve got markers on each hexie of the previous round and a purple marker on the leading edge of the current round just to make sure I don’t go wrong. I may need to start using yarn scraps as markers for the next round though as I’m running out of the plastic ones.

 


8 Comments

A very bare garden

A few years ago we cleared the jungle that was lurking outside our back door and turned it into a vegetable garden. We’ve grown tomatoes, beans, courgettes and lots of other lovely veggies.

Last year, Stephen had to do most of the work himself as my legs and back were getting worse and I was so tired from the full-time rota at work. We decided that this year we’d drop the gardening as it was too much for us to cope with, and we’d use the space for an extended cat enclosure instead.

Stephen has been very hard at work outside over the last couple of months and has cleared away the old enclosure, a shed, and lots of junk that had piled up.

garden04 garden05That small shed has now gone too, as have some more of the slabs. Just in time too as they’re coming to install the new enclosure in a few days.

I can’t wait to see the cats when they can just stroll out the door and play outside. We’ll be landscaping inside the enclosure with hard and soft areas, plus some non-toxic plants for them to hide under to bird-watch. I’m planning a solar-powered water feature for Rosie and some tunnels for Frodo. Sammie will love all the climbing areas.

More photos to come soon.


34 Comments

CAL – Last dance on the beach #15

This is the scheduled three-weekly post for the SAL that I’m doing with several other crafty blogs. As I’m struggling to find time to do any cross stitch, plus keep up with all the crochet that I’m doing, I’m going to use these posts for the Last Dance on the beach blankets. That’ll make sure that I finish them, and then I can get back to some stitching.

Last time I finished the squares for the Rain blanket which was a huge milestone. This time I’ve finished the last squares for the Stars blanket! Whoo hoo.

stars-wk12That’s all the squares done for both blankets now. I am so chuffed!

As you can see, once again I decided not to go with the scheduled square and did one of the previous squares. I think this one, the corner to corner square, was probably my favourite to crochet. it’s so easy to do and works up so quickly.

The Stars blanket is definitely going to be colourful. This is all 48 squares, sitting in their piles.

stars-12-weeksPretty, yes? So, while I’d got them all out, I got some paper out and labeled each square with its week number to make it easier to lay them out in the right order. The instructions come with a chart for how to do that and it’s very random so I needed to make it as easy as possible.

Once I’d done that, out of curiosity, I laid it all out on the floor. Just to see what it would look like.

stars-12-weeks-aAnd then, I somehow found myself with a crochet hook in hand, doing the zipper stitch to join the squares together. I haven’t finished the joining, but I have done all the vertical joins and two of the horizontal joins. It looks quite good.

stars-join01It feels about three times larger than it actually is when you’re joining it as all the squares are on your lap at the same time but are all trying to go in different directions. I’ve been using stitch markers to hold the squares together, while doing the vertical joins, to stop them twisting as otherwise they flap about all over the place. The stitch itself is easy peasy, but wrangling the blanket is not. There’s not much more joining to do though so there’s every chance there’ll be a finish for the next update as I only have the border to whack on next.

For the stitch-a-long I’m linking up to these lovely blogs:

AvisClaireGunLucyAnnKateJessSueConstanzeDebbieroseChristinaSusan,
 Kathy MargaretCindyHelenStephLindaCatherine,  Wendy

Not everyone does an update each time, but their blogs are always worth a visit.


17 Comments

Fat bottomed bags

When I first started the Last dance on the beach CAL, I took a look around the website of the original designer. The CAL was in her memory and her website, with all its inspiration, was still up for people to enjoy. I found a pattern on there for a bag that looked so pretty that I filed it away for future use and a few months ago, decided to make two of them for birthday presents.

It wasn’t a difficult design and the instructions were clear so I felt fairly confident although it was something that I hadn’t tried before as it combined crochet and sewing with a bit of decoration.

These are some of the bits and bobs from my stash, although I changed my mind on the lining fabric before starting the bag.

blue05Obviously there was yarn as well, but I’d already started crocheting before I thought to take a photo.

First I needed to crochet a granny square. For the pink bag I did a solid square but I went with a more open square for the blue bag.

blue04Next it needed to be lined, which was a bit trickier than I’d anticipated but once I’d got my walking foot on, my sewing machine coped nicely.

blue06The next stage was to add lace. Whatever lace I wanted and as much as I wanted. I did the two bags slightly  differently to keep it interesting. This is the lace on the flat square.

blue07Once that was done it was just a case of putting some crochet on the non-lace edges and then the lacy edges, which enclosed the handles.

That made the structure of the bag so then came the really fun bit, which was adding the ribbons, beads and crocheted flowers with button centres.

blue02 blue01And the finished bag –

blue03And, this is the pink one, details first –

pink02 pink01The lining –

pink03And, the finished bag –

pink04They were fun to make and quite easy and hopefully my friends liked them 🙂

 

 


14 Comments

Temperature blanket #1

My blanket is coming on nicely. I’ve managed to keep up with doing a hexie each day without any problems. I’m getting faster at doing them too. I am getting to the point where I’d quite like to use some other colours though. I was chuffed to bits on the one day in January when the temperature reached the range that I’ve allocated to Violet, but sadly that was the only one so the lone Violet hexie looks a bit lonely.

01hexiesjanIt’s about 20″ across now so is growing nicely. It looks a bit lop-sided but that’s because I’m part way through the fourth round.

Fingers crossed that we get a bit more variation in the temperatures in February. That Violet hexie would really love some company 🙂


25 Comments

CAL – Last dance on the beach #14

This is the scheduled three-weekly post for the SAL that I’m doing with several other crafty blogs. As I’m struggling to find time to do any cross stitch, plus keep up with all the crochet that I’m doing, I’m going to use these posts for the Last Dance on the beach blankets. That’ll make sure that I finish them, and then I can get back to some stitching.

Last time I said that I was hoping to complete the squares for the Rain blanket, and I’m doing a wee happy dance because I’ve done just that.

rain-wk12Four lovely waffley squares for week twelve making a total of 48 squares altogether.

rain-12-weeksI’m itching to do the joins on them now but I also really want to finish the Stars squares too. Decisions…

For the stitch-a-long I’m linking up to these lovely blogs:

AvisClaireGunLucyAnnKateJessSueConstanzeDebbieroseChristinaSusan,
 Kathy MargaretCindyHelenStephLindaCatherine,  Wendy

Not everyone does an update each time, but their blogs are always worth a visit.


13 Comments

Temperature blanket

I’ve seen the odd mention of temperature blankets recently but didn’t really know what one was. Then, one of  my friends said she was going to do one, so I looked into it.

They sound interesting. You split a temperature range into sections and select a yarn colour for each section. Then, you do a row of your blanket each day, picking the colour according to the high temperature of that day. You get a lovely random striping effect that’s designed by the year’s temperatures.

A couple more of my friends said they might do one too and I was getting more and more tempted. Bear in mind that I currently have two Last Dance blankets in progress, plus one Carousel and a Ripple. (also a secret project that I can’t talk about, Ssshhhh)

Eventually I gave in to temptation but with a twist. I thought it’d be fun to do it in hexagons, working out from the centre in a spiral. Usually the blankets are done for a full year, but I’m just going to keep going until it’s the right size. I can do a hexagon, including join-as-you-go in under 20 minutes so it’s not a big commitment.

Traditionally they’re done in a range of colours going from icy greys, through blues, greens, yellows, oranges and red to denote the changing temperature but I wanted to use the lovely Stylecraft Batik that I’m making the Carousel with. There are enough colours to do that but I was imagining one done that shaded from grey through grey-blues to purples, pinks and red so I’m just using eight colours. I’m also using the local temperature at noon each day rather than the high temperature.

These are the colours that I’ve chosen.temp-colour-rangeGraphite (below 0°)
Storm (0 – 5°)
Indigo (6 – 10°)
Violet (11 – 15°)
Heather (16 – 20°)
Plum (21 – 25°)
Raspberry (26 – 30°)
Cherry (over 30°)

I’m not anticipating using much cherry 🙂

The hexagon pattern I’m using is based on one on Attic24 Lucy’s blog. I’ve changed the centre section because I like starting circles with a finger wrap and dc.temp-01

The green stitch marker is the centre hexagon and I’m marking the edge of the last one added with a purple marker so I don’t get confused. I was overjoyed on Wednesday when the temperature managed to get high enough to use the violet as I was getting desperate to use a different colour.

I’m loving it so far. The hexies are quick and easy to do and it’s growing nicely. I’m even contemplating another one once this one is finished. I’m thinking these hexies would look lovely in two colours, one for the temperature and one for the general weather – windy, rainy, cloudy, sunny etc.