Curling tongs heat proof cover

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A sewing day with Nottingham Patchwork Group and I now have a heat proof curling tongs travel mat. I saw the sheep fabric and couldn't resist it. I used heat proof wadding and reflective ironing cover material and just sort of made up the pattern. I wanted something that wouldn't be too bulky but would protect the wand and be heat proof too. It had it's first packing outing on our Yorkshire holiday and passed the test with flying colours.

Crochet basket

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Another holiday and another crochet project. This actually was a bit of an impromptu crochet job as some yarn in a bin box called to me when I was guarding the bikes whilst waiting outside the fish and chip shop. You know how it goes, it's bank holiday weekend and you are just standing around not wanting to go too far (we hadn't taken bike locks), and the yarn shop is very close to the chippy, and the sale basket is just there and there is some interesting yarn at a great price. It was meant to be. I then had to come up with an idea for 3 balls of superbulky yarn which recommended 15mm needles for knitting. Whoppers then. However, since I happened to have all my crochet hooks with me :) I chose a 10mm hook and made a start straight away. I ended up undoing my first effort as whilst it was making a pretty sturdy fabric I wanted to make something that would stand up on it's own and could be used as a bin liner or similar so the following day I went shopping for a plastic bin or bag of some sort and saw the perfect item; a plastic flexi bag.

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Now I had something to work around for size.  All went swimmingly well until I ran out of pink super bulky yarn with not much hope of getting some more. You see how my projects escalate? So, back to the yarn shop (The Mill in Sutton on Sea) for something to improvise with to finish the basket. I ended up buying 3 balls of chunky yarn to ply together to make the right thickness. It was a bit too thick with 3 strands but this actually worked in my favour because the flexi bag was wider at the top than the bottom so I didn't need to do any shaping. Anyway, it was finished in quite short order with a bit of a flower embellishment to finish off the pink wool. Now I have a lovely crocheted basket that I'm not really sure what to do with. At the moment it is holding my current patterns, books and projects and being both useful and stylish! Just in case it looks like I spent all my holiday crocheting I can confirm that I did a lot of cycling and walking too (and some embroidery, but that is another story)!

Crochet Festival Hat

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This is one of my holiday projects. I seem to be unable to go away on holiday without some sort of yarn or textile project........there are so many things to make and so little time! Of course it depends on how much space there is to pack and since our holidays this year are again UK based and budget holidays due to the barn conversion, I had plenty of room in the car to take some rainy weather activities. Our holidays this summer were split into two separate weeks and two locations. For our first holiday to the North Yorkshire Moors we were largely blessed with beautiful weather and very purple heathery moors. Perfect for walking and photographing.  I did have a day out (!) on a train trip to London for work meeting but made the best use of my time on the train to start crocheting a hat. A request had been made to make a 'festival' hat for a friend of one of my son's in law, who had inadvertently binned his mates favourite festival hat. The only clue to what a festival hat looks like was a photo of a little girl wearing a crocheted girly hat so not really much use.  I was pretty much making it up as I went along. I used cotton dk yarn with two strands together and found a pattern on the internet and just got on with it adapting it as I went. It didn't go quite to plan as I had intended to do many yarn changes to make it look random but I didn't have a lot of room on the train so made do with a couple of colour changes. I did feel a bit silly trying the partial hat out for size on the train but I had to check that it was going to fit an adult, or in fact anyone. I finished the hat the following day and was entirely unsure that it would be suitable for anyone, let alone a bloke, but at least it was finished. I'm cautiously optimistic that it might be ok as the 'mate' has seen a picture of it. Miracles do happen.

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The Yorkshire moors in all their heathery glory. Apparantly the heather was in flower two weeks earlier than usual which timed it perfectly with our holiday.

Crochet chunky cushion cover

Super Chunky Crochet Cushion

The chunky cushion cover certainly grew pretty quickly, but I found that if I didn't pay attention it grew too much and some had to be undone to get back on track! I managed to recycle some wooden buttons from a previous cushion cover that had been too well used and become a bit bobbly and they finished it off a treat. The only problem with the pattern was that it showed the cushion pad through the holey bits of the pattern so I cured that with a cheap purchased cushion cover which somehow defeats the object of making one but it passed my stringent 'would I like to keep this' test. Reluctantly, I handed it over to it's new owners.......I think I may have to make one for myself. hmmmmm.

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!