Showing posts with label Lace. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lace. Show all posts

Friday, 2 June 2017

Wedding Keepsakes

Hi folks,

It's such a lovely time of year just now and though weddings are lovely at any time, Spring and Summer are my favourites. Recently I've been trawling the Internet looking for inspiration for wedding keepsakes and there are some lovely patterns out there. In the end I returned to a tried and tested pattern, a lace horse shoe for good luck, however I have a confession to make because it isn't crochet.

Nope, no crochet in sight. It's actually tatted lace though it does need a crochet hook to make joins. Some years ago I bought a starter kit from the Ring Of Tatters and using their DVD, taught myself shuttle tatting. I only learnt the basics and after making a few items I returned to my first love of crochet as I found it easier but I have always loved this simple horse shoe pattern from Be-stitched. It's a beginner's pattern which is lucky for me as it is all I can do.

Tatting can be made with either a tatting needle or a shuttle, I use a shuttle. Some shuttles have a hook at one end for joining purposes but as mine doesn't I use a small steel crochet hook. The stitch used is called double stitch and is made in two parts, these form the chains and rings and even the picots.

Using white crochet cotton, I wound the shuttle full of thread but didn't cut it from the ball.

The thread is held by the left hand while the shuttle is worked around it. The ring was worked by making a loop of thread around the fingers and holding the thread between the index finger and thumb. The shuttle is then worked around the thread of the ring and when enough stitches have been worked the ring is tightened by pulling the shuttle thread to close it.

The horse shoe pattern starts with two rings joined together at the first and last picots using the crochet hook..

It then continues using chains and rings

until the other end of the horse shoe is reached where it is finished by making two rings joined together to mirror the first two rings of the horse shoe.

The horse shoe is finished off by knotting the two threads and weaving the ends in at the back of the motif. A little blocking and it's done.

If you fancy trying tatting I recommend checking out the Ring of Tatters link above, the DVD I learnt from is still available and was much easier than trying to follow written directions. The tatters from the Ring I met demonstrating the craft were all lovely ladies who were incredibly patient and helpful. The Be-stitched site has some gorgeous tatting pics on the pattern pages too.

I love this little horse shoe and hope the bride will too, especially with a cute little pageboy or flower girl to present it to her.

Having picked up my shuttle again I plan to learn some more tatting techniques but crochet is still my first love and I'll be back to blogging about hooky times again soon.

Til next time,

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Let it Snow....

Hello folks,

for once, I am not talking about the weather but Christmas traditions. I love this time of year, keeping and making new traditions as we move through the short December days towards Christmas. I don't like to start too early so wait until December, starting with the lighting of the advent candle on the 1st. I love my Christmas traditions and am always interested in other peoples' traditions too so I thought I'd start my first Christmas themed post with a tradition I started a few years ago and that is popping a little crocheted or tatted surprise in some of my Christmas cards.

Snowflake cards anyone? Big or small, glittery or pure white, beaded or plain, I don't know anyone who doesn't like these little surprises in their cards. In the past I've made tatted icicles and stars, this year I decided to make snowflakes, the one above is a pattern by Caitlin Sainio from the book 75 Lace Crochet Motifs which I reviewed earlier this year.

While the wind howled round the house and the rain hammered down over the last few days I sat with my hook and cotton making a variety of snowflakes, from small to large, for various recipients. The one on the right I embellished using a Pinflair Pearl Wand after I added the red crocheted loop to turn it into a tree decoration. The small snowflakes could be used to decorate plain gift tags or napkin rings for the Christmas dinner table however I tend to use them all for tree decorations. It helps to know which friends like large trees and which have smaller ones so I can tailor each decoration to it's intended recipient.

Once all the snowflakes were made and blocked, I stiffened them with a can of spray starch. They could also have been stiffened by painting with a weak glue solution but as I wasn't using glitter I used the starch instead. Once dry they were almost ready to go.

The snowflakes can have a crocheted loop like the one in the picture, narrow ribbon threaded through the top picots or even a loop made from a length of pearl bead ribbon, anything you wish to use really.

Although I don't make my own cards the motifs could be used for card making, turning them into a card and small gift in one by attaching the ribbon loop to the inside of the front of a card so it can be removed after Christmas and kept to use as a decoration the following year.

Whilst the pattern for the large snowflake is not mine, I made up the simple smaller snowflakes myself and you are welcome to use the pattern if you like this idea or there are lots of snowflake patterns about on the internet. I used size 10 crochet cotton in white and red and a 2mm hook.

Small Snowflake 

Working in the round and using UK terms:

1. Make 4 ch, join in a ring with a sl st.

2. 1 ch, 5dc in ring, sl st to 1st ch.

3. 5 ch, sl st in next dc of ring, repeat 5 times ending with a sl st at base of 1st ch.

4. Sl st to 3rd ch of 5 ch loop on previous round, *3 ch,  1 picot (3ch, sl st in 3rd ch from hook),

3ch, sl st to 3rd ch of next loop* repeat from * to*

ending with last sl st at the start of the 1st loop.

For small snowflake fasten off here, block and starch, for medium continue as below.

Medium Snowflake

Follow pattern for small snowflake then work 5th row.

5. Sl st in each ch to and including picot, *4 ch, 1 picot, 4ch, sl st to picot at point of loop on previous round* repeat from * to * ending with sl st at the start of the 1st loop as in row 4.

Weave in ends and block. Stiffen with starch or paint with a solution of 2 teaspoons PVA glue and 1 teaspoon water and leave to dry on waxed paper. If you want to add glitter use the glue method and add the glitter before the motif drys.

I'm sorry the photos aren't very good, unfortunately the light has been very poor over the last few days making it difficult to get good pictures. I hope you like this and it may give you inspiration for a new tradition of your own. The end of the first week of advent also means baking the first batch of mince pies and making spiced hot chocolate for me and gingerbread latte for N. This year I also made a plum and marzipan tart. What traditions do you keep? I'd love to know if you would like to share them with me.

Til next time.


Saturday, 18 July 2015

Shawl, Stole or Wrap?

Hello folks,

What do you call them? I usually go with shawl or wrap, rarely using the name stole. Last week I wrote about making a wrap with the summery merino lace yarn I had. Thank you so much for all the lovely comments you left, I loved reading them and was delighted that you all liked this yarn too. I'm pleased to announce the wrap is now finished!

This worked up really quickly and I finished it a few days ago, it then languished the next few days waiting to be blocked while I took advantage of the better weather to get back on top of the garden. I finally got around to blocking it and here it is.

I kept the edge very plain in the end, just a single row of double crochet all the way around and then a row of picots at either end. My picots were made by working 3 ch, sl st in 1st ch and then sl st to where I wanted the next picot. I loved these colours the moment I saw them and I'm really pleased with the way this shawl has turned out, simple definitely was the way to go as it really shows off the colours. It looks green shown on some lime broderie anglaise,

and the turquoise is brought out by this dress.

When I wrote about making this last week I had been thinking how lovely it would look over a summery white top or dress, I'd completely forgotten I had this simple long turquoise shift dress for which it is also a perfect match.

Isn't it lovely how a single layer of the wrap looks turquoise but where it is hangs in folds it becomes green? Would you like a closer look?

I'm going to really enjoy using this shawl, matched with this dress it would even look good for a summer wedding reception.

Are you enjoying the summer so far? It's been somewhat wet here this year which hasn't been good for getting out in the garden but has been good for cracking on with my crochet projects. Yes, it's plural again, I don't seem to be able to limit myself to just one, my mind races off with too many ideas. Do you find that too? I want to make another Paisley cushion but with a slightly different design, I have some small, items to make in thread crochet and last but not least, I want to try some broomstick lace. I think that should keep me busy for a little while.

Til next time,


Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Summer Colours

Hello there, first of all I'd like to say a big thank you for all the lovely comments on my cushion, I'm really chuffed you all liked it and took the time to let me know.

I wasn't able to post last week, life has been both busy and sad here as I was helping N sort out his late mother's home. It was also the hottest week of the year so far so it was exhausting. Arriving home late in the evening I didn't feel up to doing anything too complicated but I did manage to squeeze in a little crochet to relax before bed time. Do you remember this?

It's the lace weight merino yarn I wrote about buying here. I fell in love with these summery colours and have, from the day I bought it, pictured a summer wrap to throw over light summer dresses or white tops in the evenings. I've enjoyed browsing through different lace stitches, picturing the end result before trying a few out and finding that actually, it looks far nicer if I keep it simple.

I loved the effect of the different colours in a simple chain made with a large hook, the bright green fading to yellow, turquoise and lilac so I decided to keep it simple and make the wrap in an easy diamond mesh pattern. This is just the thing for working in a nice easy rhythm when I'm too tired to concentrate on a pattern. It also has the benefit of showing off the yummy summer colours of this yarn much better than the more complicated lace patterns. Isn't this gorgeous?

By Thursday we were shattered and ready for a break so worked really late to finish up and stay home on Friday. We had a quiet day relaxing and pottering about and inspired by Elizabeth's post at Mrs Thomasina Tittlemouse I was pleased to see the elder flowers finally out in our garden so I could make a batch of cordial. This Elder is called Black Lace, the cordial it makes is pink and the newly opened flowers have a delicious citrussy elderflower aroma. It also looks absolutely gorgeous in the garden.

So that was the first week of our summer holiday - clearing, cleaning, pottering in the kitchen and garden and of course a little crochet.

The light is much brighter today when I took this last photo and the yarn looks more blue, mostly it looks green though. If you would like to make a wrap like this, I'm using a 5.5mm hook with a 3 ply laceweight merino yarn with 400 metres in a 100g skein. This is a bigger hook than would usually be used for this yarn weight but I chose it as I liked the effect of the bigger hook and wanted the wrap to work up quickly. It only uses chain and double crochet stitches (single crochet in US) so is ideal if you are new to crochet and want to move on to making something a little bigger than squares. I made 242 stitches then working in UK terms:

1st row - miss 1 ch, 1 dc in next ch, *5 ch, miss 3 ch, 1 dc in next ch* repeat to last st, 1 dc, 5ch, turn

2nd row - *1 dc in ch space, 5 ch* repeat to end

Repeat the second row until the wrap is the size you want and that's it, nice and simple. I don't know yet how wide mine will be or how I will edge it, I'll just stop when it looks right.

Til next time,


Saturday, 16 May 2015

Crocheted Lace, Sea Horses and a Book Review

Hi folks, did you know that seahorses are sometimes red?
What have seahorses got to do with crochet I hear you ask? Well, it's all down to this book, 75 Lace Crochet Motifs.

I was browsing on Amazon earlier this year when I came across this book by Caitlin Sanio and fell in love with the little seahorse on the front cover. I'm not known for impulse buys so I went away and thought and thought about it but I kept being drawn back to it every time I went online. This book looked too good to stay on my wish list, I just had to make that seahorse. I duly ordered it and then spent a couple of excited days waiting for the postman to call. Eventually the knock on the door came, I was so excited, I love books so with anticipation I tore off the packaging looked wonderful, even better than I thought it would be. Oh, the joy, a brand new book full of ridiculously beautiful little lace motifs to crochet and pepper projects with.

There are 75, a whole 75, beautiful lace motifs all done in size 10 crochet cotton with a 2mm hook. I didn't like the colour used for the seahorse in the book, that seahorse is just asking to be turquoise, right? I didn't have any turquoise crochet cotton though and I was much too eager to make this little fellow to order online and wait for crochet cottons to arrive, so I turned to the internet to find images of seahorses. A quick internet search of seahorses found  The Seahorse Trust  and  brought the information that seahorses can change colour to blend in with their surroundings and have even been known to turn red to match floating debris. They pair for life and also change colour during their daily courtship display which can last up to an hour each morning. It's amazing what information I come across when I get an idea in my head, whatever did we do before the internet?

 Hmm, red seahorses? I have red cotton, I used it to edge the baby shoes, so why not make the seahorse in red?


For each pattern in the book the author has given the length of cotton needed, it reminded me of tatting patterns where the required length has to be wound on to the shuttle before you start. It just so happened I still had a shuttle left from last year already wound with enough red cotton to make the seahorse. Out it came, along with a 2mm crochet hook.

 A short while later I'd made this.

 It looks a bit messy and twisty as it needs to be blocked and have the ends woven in.

 Aah, that's better, it's amazing the difference blocking makes to a piece of work, I'm a real fan of blocking. I adore this little red seahorse, I think he is going to become a bag charm and will live attached to my project bag where I can see him every day.

 I'm really looking forward to making more motifs from this book, perhaps experimenting with embroidery floss and different hooks as well as cotton. It is very well laid out and easy to use with pattern pictures and corresponding page numbers grouped by themes at the front of the book.


 I don't usually use charted patterns but even following the written pattern they do still help with these small motifs as they are very clear and you can see instantly where you have gone wrong if you make a mistake.

I think the shell and starfish will have to be next, then I'll need to find something to embellish with them. All the motifs in this book are beautiful but these three are my favourite, or perhaps it's the songbird and hummingbird? Decisions, decisions, however the seahorse is definitely my favourite.

I hope to get back soon to the bright yarn I showed you a peek of last week, unfortunately we had a bump in the car last week and I've been a bit too uncomfortable to crochet for long so I thought I'd share this with you instead. I hope you have enjoyed the book review and the little seahorse. Have you done any thread crochet? I'd love to know what you've made.

Til next time,

Thursday, 12 March 2015

A Craft Heaven?

Hi there folks, it seems so long since I last posted on my blog but it's really been just over a week and there has been so much going on here. Last week was, of course, the Stitching, Sewing & Quilting and Hobbycrafts show so not a lot of crochet went on here. I went on the Thursday which was the first day of the show.  There was a different format this time in that all the exhibitors were crammed into one hall instead of two. It was very, very busy and I did hear  a few complaints as I went round. I was a bit disappointed myself this year and got few of the items on my wish list so I'm not sure if I would go again next year, the jury is still out on that one. Now having told you the negatives lets move on to the positives and I hope you enjoy a peek into my day out.

I loved, loved, loved the quilting and embroidery exhibitions. It was fascinating to see the different images the idea of India conjures for people and the different styles of stitching the entrants used for the Glimpses of India competition . I love the vibrant colours from warmer climes such as India and there was great variety in the different entries. I took lots and lots of photos, not easy when it was so terribly busy and with the bright lighting hitting the exhibits. I really admire these as I don't have the patience for embroidery, especially by hand. My favourites are below, do you like them? The last one was the overall winner and is machine embroidery.

Then it was on to the Paisley Patchers stand and my goodness, these quilters are so clever and talented. I had a lovely chat with one of the ladies there who talked me through the quilts and these were my favourites, don't you just love the clever use of the fabric with music notes on  for the dancers?


 I also really liked the butterflies and flower, though I think the butterfly quilt is my favourite out of the the three, what do you think?

After my lovely chat and photo opportunity it was on to the display for costumes from the Mr Selfridge TV programme. I especially loved the embroidered sleeves on the black costume and the gold embroidery on the jacket of the other costume. Unfortunately it was just too busy to get a good shot of the entire display.

I'd spent quite a bit of time looking at the different displays and it was time to get down to some serious retail therapy. This is where the day became more disappointing and I got very little of my shopping list BUT I did get this gorgeous merino lace yarn from Karelia House.

 No, it wasn't on my list at all but it's so beautifully soft and such fab colours I just couldn't resist and bought it in four different colours. Can anyone resist impulse buying beautiful yarn? I must confess that I wouldn't have bought the one in shades of brown and grey, it's just not me but that skein was actually my Mum's choice. She really liked it so added it to the pile hoping I'll make something for her. I love lace weight yarns and the way they work up into beautiful shawls and wraps, with the colours in these skeins they will look lovely even with a quite simple design.What hours of fun I'll have deciding what to make and what stitches to use. What would you make?

In the meantime, I've been finishing off my bolster cushion of an evening. I'm going to block the pieces before making up and hope it will be ready to use very soon but oh, those ends which need weaving in, there are just so many! They'll be finished soon enough though and it will be time for my next project, with Mother's Day fast approaching I'd better hurry up. Will you be making anything for Mother's Day?