Crochet Asymmetrical Poncho

The asymmetrical poncho is finished at last - not without a bit of trauma as I noticed 3/4 of the way up that I had missed off the last motif in the row after a couple of pattern repeeats and then continued upwards with short rows. Damn and blast. Three evenings of undoing later and I started again at the short row and did it properly. When I finished I was panicking a bit because it looked sort of short and fat and I thought it would never fit, but after a bit of easing (for 'easing' think of me standing on one end and pulling the other to stretch it all out to the correct dimensions), and now I'm really pleased with it. I love the colours and it sits comfortably on my shoulders without slipping down or flapping about, although it wouldn't be so good at a football match, or anywhere you need to throw your arms in the air as it ends up around your neck like a scarf. Not that I would do anything so unladylike as flinging my arms around. ahem. 

Having finished the poncho, I moved quickly onto a standby baby present of another crochet octopus. They are so satisfyingly quick to make and my two previous octopi (?) octopuses (?) are really well loved by their new family that I think they will be my goto quick baby gift, although I do have a nice baby bootee pattern that I will have to whip out every now and then.........

Chunky cushion cover

Chunky cushion cover

I am feeling quite prolific on the crochet front because I've started yet another item. This time it is a quick cushion cover for a house warming/retirement present. It's already late as the recipients have both moved and retired, but we are planning to visit on the way to our holibobs so have a tight deadline. Leastways, I'm really hoping it's going to be a quick present! I'm using super chunky wool and a 9mm crochet hook, but I am trying out a pattern I've not done before, so could be fraught with frustration. The pattern is called Chunky Crochet Pillow so is an american pattern, but is easy enough if you remember to do a treble whenever a double crochet is mentioned. It is actually a really well described and pictured pattern so I'm hopeful that I can finish it quickly. It's an interesting pattern because it's made diagonally with increases and the squared off with decreases and looks like herringbone. I've never made anything this way before so I'm quite intrigued. 

Crochet bobble cushion covers

Hoorah, the bobble cushion covers are finished. After a concentrated crochet effort and some steady hand sewing of an evening whilst 'watching' the tennis, the cushion covers are now finished. I contemplated blocking the crochet before attaching to the ready made cushion covers, but then though 'Nah, just sew it'. I figured that gently easing the crochet and pinning to the covers would do the trick and it seemed to work ok. So, are the new cushion covers in all their crisp loveliness now adorning the sofa or bed? Nope, they've been packed away ready for the new house. It will be a lovely surprise when we finally unpack and I find all my crochet and quilty delights.

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Of course, apart from the satisfaction of completing something, there is then the fun of choosing the next thing to do. This time I'm attempting something wearable for ME! Whilst on holiday and browsing in mill shops and quirky shops in and around St David's in Pembrokeshire I was drawn to asymmetrical poncho's but didn't find one I liked enough to buy. So now I'm making one! I found a pattern on Garnstudio's website using Drops yarn which I really like so it seemed a no-brainer to have a go. The hardest decision was which colourway to choose! This is also the first time that I have used a pattern that is only a diagram without any written pattern such as '4ch, 2 dc in first ch sp' which, when you think about it, is almost completely gobbledygook. Anyway, after a couple of false starts and a review of the excellent video's on the website, it is now underway.

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Sunday is usually 'family tea' day and today it's a birthday tea so I've made an extra special cake - strawberry and cream victoria sponge. Yum.........

Quick crochet update

I am desperately trying to finish bits and pieces whilst trying to resist the lure of starting a new project. I'm currently working on a couple of cushion covers, although I can't remember why I needed to make two and not one 😊. You actually only make the cushion front and then attach to a cushion cover which you can either buy or make. I've opted to buy mine as it is too difficult to wrestle with the sewing machine in our pokey flat. The pattern is from Simply Crochet magazine issue 57, and comprises a centre panel with the bobbles and then a border which you can make to the size you need for the cushion cover. It's lovely working with soft cotton in this warm weather.

Inbetween spells of cushion bobbles I've been trying to finish off some axminster wool from my circular rug and heart and flower garland. This featured in my Crochet Ferris Wheel Coaster post, but I've finally finished the second candle holder to complete the set. I also made a garland/halter for the moose - see below!

I also finished off a crochet bow for a daughter to wear in her hair or as a brooch. It's the same as Shamus the dog's bow tie, but obviously in a girly pink colour.

And finally, this is not my work and it's not crochet, but I need to share it as it's so lovely. It also evokes lovely memories of a great day with the family on holiday in Pembrokeshire. Thanks AC! (Aunty Christine to everyone).

Pembrokeshire Islands Seabird Spectacular Cruise

We have just had a fab family holiday in Pembrokeshire. One of the many highlights of the holiday was an evening seabird cruise around the islands off the Pembrokeshire coast. This particular trip was run by Pembrokeshire Islands. I did take some photo's but they mostly didn't turn out too well due to the low light levels and the up and down-ness of the boat, so if you follow the link you will see some much better photo's that represent the experience that we had. I wanted to see puffins and we saw thousands. It was really spectacular. Of course we saw many other birds and the guide on the boat was very knowledgeable and really interesting even though we did get a bit confuddled with information overload after a while.

The cruise ended as the sun was going down and it was a lovely sunset, which finished off the trip beautifully.

Pity I felt so sick all the while on the boat. Curse that dratted motion sickness. It was worth it for all the puffins though!

The bacon butty walk

A couple of weeks ago we decided to walk from the barns to Codnor Park reservoir to get some fresh air. It's a walk that goes down the fields, across the steam railway, along the coach road and then onto Cromford canal and then to the reservoir. It is a nice walk, not dramatic, but nice and it harks back to our industrial heritage. The weather started off sunny but we just reached the bacon butty van at the reservoir when the heavens opened. There was no option but to have a bacon sandwich and a cup of tea whilst sheltering from the rain. Well, I have to say it was the best bacon sandwich I've had in ages, and the cup of tea hit the spot as well. The Waters Edge bacon butty van has featured in Derbyshire Life magazine and manages very well without advertising but relies on word of mouth and facebook recommendations. After the rain we turned around and rushed back to the barns before the next deluge.....and almost made it in time.

The reservoir at Codnor park has become a favourite gentle stroll and bird watching venue. At the moment there are many baby water fowl including swans, moorhen, mallard and coot. Checkout my instagram feed for photos. 

Crochet Octopus for babies

I wanted to make a gift for a new baby and happened upon an article about crocheted soft toy octpuses (octupi?) for premature babies. Apparently the babies take comfort from the spiral tentacles as a replacement for the umbilical cord. Fortunately, the baby in question was born safely and on time, although clearly I could have been a lot better prepared! The octopus only took an evening (and a bit) to make so we wrapped it up and delivered it to the new parents straight away. Baby's big brother (aged 2) really liked the new octopus so we went straight round to the wool shop to buy a different colour and after another evening wielding a crochet hook we have a brother octopus to 'Holly' octopus. We will drop him round later today. I really need to get better at facial features on these amigurumi toys because the expressions on the faces makes such a difference to the finished toy, so whilst I was not completely happy with the eyes and mouths on the octopuses, time was of the essence. Also I'm in the middle of 2 cushion covers, one tea light jar cover and a hexagon quilt so I have to become quicker at finishing things.

The octopuses are made with 100% cotton yarn and washable filling so will be perfectly safe for babies and are washable. I used Wendy Supreme luxury cotton DK and a 3.5mm hook. These are such a good gift for a new baby, but clearly a great gift to a premature baby so I'm going to find out if our local neonatal units have a similar scheme.

Crochet Ferris Wheel Coaster and Tea Light Holder

I cracked.......I couldn't help myself. My crochet addiction just got the better of me and I had to rummage in the storage container for my stash of wool. Fortunately, it wasn't buried too deep and I only had to climb up one layer of boxes.......Anyway, I found some remnants of the axminster wool used for my circular doily rug and the heart and flowers bunting, chose a pattern and got started. I found the ferris wheel coaster pattern on the boys and bunting blog which I discovered after reading Simply Crochet magazine. The pattern is perhaps not a beginner pattern but would definitely be suitable for someone who is ready to progress past granny squares. It has bobbles and crochet cables (front post double crochet) so there is plenty of surface texture. The tea light holder pattern I made up with a bit of playing about. I made so many of these for homemade Christmas presents a couple of years ago that I could remember how to do them, and then added some bobbles since I had just been doing these in the coasters. I'm still finishing off a second tea light holder but I need to find a jar exactly the same size as the original as I'm using this as a pattern. Hopefully this won't prove to be more difficult than the actual crochet!    

Crochet coasters and tea light holder

Chocolate and Banana Sourdough Muffins

 I ran out of time to bake bread this weekend and my sourdough starter had been sitting in a warm kitchen and really needed some urgent attention so I made some speedy chocolate and banana muffins. The recipe is from Vanessa Kimbell on the bakery bits website and can be found here.  Even in our pathetically small cupboard of a kitchen, they were relatively easy to make and if the proof of the pudding is in the eating, they were all demolished at family tea so can be declared a success.

chocolate and banana sourdough muffins