A slight obsession with books

Crafts, cats and books


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Yarn bargain

I haven’t done any crochet for a while and am partway through a ripple blanket so I didn’t really need any more yarn. But, when I saw this in Aldi, I couldn’t resist.

Aldi YarnThey’re 400g balls and I really like the colours. I’ve stashed them away for now so they’re ready for when I finish the blanket and need a new project.

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Lots of lovely post

The postman has been several times this week. I do love getting exciting post and this has been a bumper week.

First came the latest issue of Love Patchwork and Quilting so I was able to sit and have a good read and see what else I fancied making. When I get time, that is. On Saturday, Simply Crochet arrived so that meant another sit down with a cuppa for some more inspiration.

FebMags

On Wednesday I ordered some yarn from the Wool Warehouse. I want to make the hooded scarf from the last issue of Simply Crochet and didn’t have any suitable yarn. I was looking at a pretty dark-raspberry colour but it was out of stock so I got a nice sensible denim blue instead. It’ll go with everything and I do like blue.

SirdarSupersoft

While I was ordering that, I noticed that if you spent £25 the postage was free and as I wasn’t far short of that with the crochet hook that I’d added, I got some more yarn to make one of the projects in my queue. Why spend £3 on postage when you can spend it on yarn?

StylecraftChunky

On Saturday, I had a very nice parcel arrive. I’d had an email from Constable & Robinson a few days before asking if I’d like to read a book that’s coming out in March. It sounded brilliant so of course I said yes please. This is the book.

RubySlippers

I’ve got a couple of library books to read first, but then I’ll be diving into Ruby Slippers. I’ll let you know what I think.


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Five at a time

Slow but steady progress on my log cabin squares. I’ve done five centres and am crocheting one colour at a time on the five to save having to keep changing my ball of yarn. I took a quick photo to show the texture on the bobble stitch centre, which is formed by doing long trebles.

centres

I really like this Vanna’s Choice yarn. It’s very soft and feels nice as it runs through my fingers. I think this afghan is going to be lovely and snuggly when it’s finished.

I’ve done the next two colours on those squares now and will hopefully have some more progress to report soon.


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First Log Cabin square completed

It took three goes but I’ve finally finished one complete square. I started off using a 5mm hook as recommended in the pattern but the resulting fabric was quite tight and was also a fair bit smaller than the 11.5″ it was supposed to be. The gauge given is for the whole square so it’s not until you’ve almost finished it that you can really tell if you’re anywhere near the right size.

Square two was done with a 5.5mm hook and I didn’t even get halfway before deciding it still wasn’t going to be large enough. The fabric felt softer and more flexible but it wasn’t going to be close to the right size.

Square three and a 6mm hook. This time I was very careful to keep my hands relaxed while crocheting to make sure the tension stayed nice and even and this time the size was close. I blocked it before taking the photo, and it was very easy to block it to an even square of just the right size. Phew. Third time lucky then.

log cabin square

I’ve decided to do several of the pink centres next as they don’t take long and then work with one colour at a time until those blocks are done before starting with another batch of pink middles. It’ll be quicker than constantly changing the ball of yarn.

I like the different stitches used in this square. They give a beautifully textured feel to it. The centre, purple mix and pale blue use long trebles to make bobbles on the surface. The deep pink and purple are plain double crochet and the deeper blue and grey are long half-trebles which is a more subtle effect than the bobbles but looks lovely. (UK crochet terms used)

I’m not sure how many squares I’ll get done before I run out of yarn. I suspect the purple mix will go first as I didn’t realise when I bought it that it’s only an 85g ball compared to the others which are 100g. The pink mix is also 85g but it uses so little in the centre that I think it should last longer than the others even though I only have two of it.

Once I’ve finished making the squares, some time next year probably, I’ll decide how to arrange them. There are some gorgeous interpretations of the pattern on Ravelry where people have arranged the squares to make different designs.

I managed to get a bit more done on my quilted cushion and hope to finish that over the weekend. I’ve looked through my fabric stash from my holiday and have great plans for some of it so I’m keen to get sewing. I’ve also just converted my odd Nectar points into Ebay vouchers and have looked at more fabric on there but will restrain myself until I’ve used some of what I have, if only to make some space in my storage box.


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A pretty pile of yarn

On my little trip to Michaels, in Florida, I bought a bit of yarn. I knew they had a yarn event on with 40% off and I also had a 25% voucher to use so that’d be why I bought enough to make packing to come home slightly interesting. I did have a plan for it though and I’ve already started using it.

This is my lovely yarn stash in all its colourful glory.

vanna's choice

Two blues, two pinks, two purples and a grey. I’m hoping it’ll look ok in the pattern that I’m using. So far I like it. Good job as it’s a bit far to go and get more. I’m going to make a throw with it in a log cabin design. It’s a free pattern that I found on Ravelry. Link here.

I’ve almost made the first square but I think I’m going to undo it and start again with a size larger hook as it’s coming up a bit small and the fabric feels a bit stiffer than it could be. Better to try it with a larger hook now before I get too much more done.

One of the other bargains I got on holiday was this yarn drum that I spotted in Joanns. It was $20 but I had a coupon giving me 60% off one item. It was the most expensive item that I was buying there so I used the coupon on it.

yarn drum 01

I’m always struggling for somewhere to put my ball of yarn while I’m crocheting and it usually ends up being flung onto the floor when I’m pulling more yarn out a bit too enthusiastically. The drum is great. You can keep the yarn inside it and the end comes out the hole in the top for you to use. There’s a slot so you can fit the whole ball through it if you want, so it’s more convenient than others like it that I’ve seen.

yarn drum 02

I’ve got my hook, needles and scissors in the mesh at the front. There’s a small pouch that clips on but I’ve taken that off for the moment. I may use it to store my hooks. The drum is a really nice size. I have one of each colour of the yarn that I’m using for my throw in there and there’s still room for the top ball to roll about when I’m pulling on it while I’m using it. I’m rather chuffed with my bargain purchase.

yarn drum 03

As soon as I’ve completed a square, I’ll post a photo. I’m itching to finish the cushion that I started sewing before I went on holiday though so I’m not sure which project is going to get attacked first.

I can’t see anything but the most basic housework getting a look in, that’s for sure.

 


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Cloche hat

All that lovely yarn that I bought at the NEC was calling to me. I knew what I wanted to make with some of it and as I had the pattern printed off already, I thought I’d start with this.

It’s made with the mega-chunky yarn so it crocheted up very quickly. I did it over two days but if I hadn’t been watching TV at the same time, I could easily have done it in an afternoon. It’s made on the spiral like the bunnies were so I was familiar with the technique this time. There was a tip given to use a stitch marker in the first stitch of each round, just removing it to hook into the stitch. I’d used a stitch marker on the bunnies, but lower down which made it harder to see where it was marking.

The hat has an asymmetric turn-up which I really like. The example has a button stitched on for decoration but I didn’t have anything suitable. I did have a large brad though, which I found when checking my scrapbooking stash for buttons. The brad is just through the turn-up and a small stitch stops the turn-up from flapping down.

ClocheHat01If I come across a button that I like better, it’ll be easy enough to replace the brad with it.

This is the back and side to show the slope of the turn-up.

ClocheHat02It does actually look more hat-shaped on my head than it does on the bag of toy stuffing. This was the easiest way to get a photo though.

The yarn is James C. Brett mega-chunky in Denim and I used a size 8mm hook. The pattern is by Dianne Serviss and can be  bought on Ravelry.

I’m making a scarf next using the pretty DK yarn. I have just the pattern for it.


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A trip to the NEC

This weekend is Sewing for pleasure at the NEC here in Birmingham. I like to go to this every year if I can and preferably in the company of a good friend. This year I had a really fun day out with Jackie and we both enjoyed ourselves so much, we’ve already plotted to do the same next year.

It’s great just to wander around the various stands, natter, have a nice lunch, and later an even nicer dessert, but there’s also the stash shopping to be done. The plan was to have a good look first, to check what was on sale and who had the best prices, but I fell at the first hurdle. As we walked in we spotted a stand with cross stitch kits on it. They were all the type that I like. There were LHN, Lizzie Kate and other US designers. One in particular caught my eye as it was one that I’d been looking at a few weeks ago, but couldn’t find for sale in the UK. I had to buy it straight away – it’s the coffee one in the pic below. We went back to that stand later to get a nice kit for Jackie and I got the owl chart there as it was calling to me. I did only buy one cross stitch kit, at a different stand, which I thought was most restrained. It’s a specialist stitch one with lots of beading. It’s really pretty. I also got the threads to go with Let’s Do Coffee, and believe it or not, they were the only threads that I bought all day.

NECstash05I also bought a few cross stitch related items during the day. I stocked up on gold needles, bought a 5″ hoop that was on my shopping list, and found some gorgeous silk fabric to use with the Hardanger SAL. The buttons are to go with the Cottages. There’s also a Cheeky Owl in the pic. He’s a tiny fabric owl, or rather all the pieces you need to make him. I fancied having a go at that.

NECstash07There was so much fabric there that I was a bit mesmerised and didn’t get nearly as much as I’d intended. I am pleased with what I did get and have tentative plans for it all.

NECstash08I’ve been wanting some bamboo crochet hooks for a while so I was on the lookout for some. We found some sets of ten for a bargain price of a tenner so we both got those. I also managed to find some bamboo Tunisian crochet hooks so I got three different sizes to experiment with. I also managed to get some nice bag handles for a couple of projects that I have in mind.

NECstash06Then there’s the yarn. I’ve spent the past week going through all my patterns and those I have marked on Ravelry, to see which ones I’d really like to crochet. I made a list of the yarn that I’d need for them and I think I succeeded in getting most of that plus a little bit more.

This one is gorgeous. It’s lovely and soft and worked out at £1 per ball. It’s DK and I have a few projects in mind for it.

NECstash02This one is a super chunky for a specific pattern, and a DK for one of two projects that I’ve been considering.

NECstash03I was looking for some sock yarn and found this. It was fairly expensive but I just loved the colours and texture.

NECstash04And then there’s this one. It’s a cotton DK and the colours are just scrumptious. Dusky pink, Strawberry, Lilac and Iris. Yum. I have a good idea what I want to do with these. I just hope they stretch to the two projects that I’m thinking of. I’m fairly sure they will.

NECstash01I had a lovely day out and I’d just like to say thanks to Jackie for the wonderful company. Now I just need to start using some of this beautiful stash.