Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Thread & Thread alike...

Since my last post I have been working a lot with thread (not exclusively) for crocheting... I enjoy the 'popping' it makes over the tiny Clover Soft Touch crochet hook... sad I know but none the less we all have our little quirks...

I was introduced (by Ravelry, where else) to the designs of a lady called Patricia Kristoffersen (PK is often how she's referred to) via the group 'PK Doilies'. I have since collected several, OK well the majority of her booklets with her designs apart from 'Wonderful Doilies' (ASN 1277) & 'Elegant Coasters (LA 2923) and am on a mission to find reasonably priced copies of these.... anyway rather than wax lyrical about the designs it's just easier to give you a photo heavy post of some of her designs I've worked recently and I'll let you make your mind up about her designs... However, I must warn you the photos may not show up her clever use of surface stitches such as post stitches which feature heavily in her work...

From her book - 'Coasters by the Dozen' (LA 3081) all worked in Coats Puppets 'Eldorado' Tkt 10 with a 1.5mm hook

From 'The Big Book of Little Doilies' (LA 2874)

From 'Doilies with Charm' (LA 3161) - Spellbinding worked with Coats Mercer Crochet #20 and .25mm hook

From 'Absolutely Gorgeous Doilies' (LA 2879) - Sunflower Bloom worked with Coats Mercer Crochet #20 and 1.25mm hook

From 'Coffee 'n' Cream' (LA 3073) - Café Latte worked in Coats Freccia #16 and 1.25mm hook

Now for a little of my own engineering - reverse that is ;o) This mat below (cream) has sat on my dressing table for years along with it's partner and the traditional larger centre mat. It was made by maternal grandmother pre 1966 (that's when she died) so I have no idea how old it is. Anyway just for the hell of it a few weeks back a random thought just wandered across my mind  (as they do) if I could possibly reverse engineer a piece of crochet (only simple) - I'd heard other people talking about it and I just thought can I do it?

I grabbed the nearest and only thing in the house I could 'copy' - the above mat and the nearest thread that was hanging around - hence why it's pink when I can hear you saying 'Ann doesn't do pink!' and my hook. I came up with the mat below. I have to say I am more than a little pleased with myself :o)))) I wrote down the instructions I worked as I went along and at some point I will write them up and work the larger mat which starts off the same then changes to form a much more decorative centre piece, but it won't be in pink!

Next up was a free pattern from Coats Crafts UK -  A Round Doily I used the stated thread but decided to have a go with multiple colours after seeing the work by the talented TheShrone on Ravelry. Am fairly pleased with the results and am just in the process of looking for a frame to mount it as a picture!

Nearly at the end of the post and I hope I'm not boring you. After I did a runner for my mum's 80th earlier this year, she asked if i would do her one to go on her dining room table - so we chose the Queen Anne Motif and two colours of Coats Mercer #20 from my stash Buttercup (it's more buttermilk) and a rather nice brown which we shall say is called Chocolate Brown otherwise if I give it it's correct name from the 1950's/ 60's I'll be up for politically incorrect remarks.

Here's the resulting runner (3 x 8 motifs) with close up below. I like it and looks great in-situ (no not on my carpet on he dining room table) but I am never doing it again! it was tedious and boring to say the least and the motifs could be easily memorized within completing one or two of them - no challenge to say the least! The up side is that each of the large motifs was easily completed within 1 hour - so as the Dr would recommend 'take one a day', I did one motif a day... the border was not much better and broken down into two sessions there's about 5 - 6 hours crocheting just of the scalloped edges but the runner is a respectable 13 x 39"

and finally last but no means least as they say - something I put together myself after working a pansy to work out how they were constructed so I could repair one on one of my grandmother's mats (she liked pansies) and yes it was repaired using the original thread too!

I had this pansy floating around so I made a few more, made some other little flowers, worked a few leaves and added a splash of colour with some non-de-script filler flowers and came up with this....

and a close up for detail...

I now have a crochet decorated project tote :o) all the threads are coats mercer #20 from my stash and are older than me ;o)

Next post we'll move onto something a little chunkier and bigger

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Pierrot Yarns

I can't believe it's well over a month since I posted last - time certainly flies as you get older...

As promised in my last post I said I was nearly caught up and that's more or less true, after this post the items I have to show have been completed relatively recently as opposed to last year or several months ago...

I came across a Japanese yarn company via Ravelry called Pierrot Yarns who have started to create a English based website for their western readers as well as their well established Japanese one.... so over 2 or 3  orders I purchased several different yarns. This company doesn't sell patterns but instead have all their pattern online free to download - and there's quite a lot I can tell you as well as good variety. However, they're all in chart form whether knitting or crocheting, which I have to say I much prefer to written word anyway. Most of the  patterns have been added to Ravlery so you can see the suggested yarns for the project etc... and should you need guidelines for following Japanese Patterns Linda aka Dancingbarefoot did a very good job.....

Anyway I can hear you crying out for photos - I'm not going to list loads of photos of my stash you can always go route through my stash on Ravelry if you want to see what I purchased ;o) which by the way Pierrot Yarns are offering a 'flat rate postage service' after their summer holidays of $10 EMS postage to anywhere in the world (that accepts EMS) for any orders over Y5000. I have to say it's a very good deal.... and their service is exceptional.

Anyway I digress... I decided I'd show you 3 items all made with Pierrot yarns which I entered in their first competition and proud to say I got a 3rd prize with my African Flowers Blanket.

So the first Item I completed in Teori Wool is my lacy motif shawl. Made up of motifs and joined together it's from a Japanese book Crochet Winter Motif

here's a single motif:

and the finished object

Next I used Pierrot's Soft Merino Fingering yarn to construct myself a lapghan / throw using the freely available motif 'African Flowers' which now has several variations to it as people have interpreted the motif in their own way - me included. I constructed a join-as-you-go method for mine then there was no tedious sewing together ;o)

My 3rd entry as I was running close to the deadline was a small purse which could be used to put cosmetics in or needlework tools. This was my own design.... I used Pierrot's Cotton Lace No 20

and I think that's more or less it for catch up... next post should be more recently completed items and wip's....

Friday, 18 June 2010

Almost Caught up...

Thank you to those of you who left comments and I was pleasantly surprised by how many of you liked the Wheat Ear runner in the #20's thread especially in today's climate of thinking by many that doilies are old fashioned.....

I have to admit I thoroughly enjoyed working with the #20's thread that I opted to do more...

On Ravelry there's a group just dedicated to the doilies, coasters etc designed by Patricia Kristoffersen of which there are many talented ladies... I was bought for Christmas (it was one book on my list for Christmas) Absolutely Gorgeous Doilies by PK so armed with my newly acquired 1.25mm Clover Soft Touch hook and one 20g ball of Coats Mercer #20 in Turkey Red (as most of you know not one of mt favourite colours) I set about working Pineapple Patch.

The patterns are well written and no errors (well that I found) although for a UK candidate whose just spent months working from charts I had a few false starts converting US to UK terms on the fly, however I got there in the end and produced my very 1st PK doily.

I thoroughly enjoyed this pattern and decided I would tackle another form the book. This time I chose the Windsor Round, I have no idea why as I have to admit it wasn't one of the favourites when I flicked through the book, but I have to say it's now one of my favourites after working it. Again one ball of Coats mercer #20 a 1.25mm hook (I have to admit to this thread and this size of hook are my favourite combination); and yet again no idea why but I chose a pink colour called Coral Pink???????????? again another colour I don't like really... perhaps I was subconsciously trying to get it out of my stash!!!

Anyway 9 days later I produced this:

I love the detail around the centre created by the long stitches worked backwards and forwards into stitches of previous rounds - something I'd not come across before.

I'm sad to say I've not had chance to get back to doing any doilies since then due to other crochet and knitting comments but as I'm on holiday this coming week I may 'treat myself' Mmmmmm....

One last thing about doilies before I move on.

Can anyone tell me how such a small item can use so many pins for blocking?

Doilies seem to use far more pins than lace knitting, although DH is pleased as he doesn't have to get involved in blocking these ;o)
After the doilies I did some knitting, yes I did say Knitting - although sorry no lace.

I started stocking some Noro yarns in the shop so I opted to knit a waistcoat (Design 26 from Noro: MIni Knits 2 by Jenny Watson) in Noro's Kureyon to display the yarns and pattern books.

Although the pattern is per the book I converted it into knitting the fronts and back in one piece up to the armholes, I also lengthened it for myself and didn't make the collar quite as wide as suggested. All in all I'm pleased with it but glad to say we've really not had suitable weather to wear it yet!

The other thing I tried with this pattern was the Japanese 3 Needle Bind Off blogged about by Another Long Yarn. I used this to join the front and back at the shoulder seams and it worked beautifully...

And finally the last item for this post - back to crocheting!

I'd been fascinated by Mabel by Sarah London so when she published the pattern I purchased it and proceeded to make one of my own. It's a well written pattern and quick to work up - 2 days it took me; in fact it took longer for the cushion pad to arrive than it did to crochet it.

Worked in Patons Diploma Gold DK - and as I didn't have enough to do both sides the same I did a 'Light & Dark Mabel'

I've actually found women prefer the light side and men prefer the darker side... me I just turn it over when I'm passing so I get the best of both sides!!!

Well that's it for now - I reckon one more 'catch-up' post in which I shall tell you about my interlude using yarns from Pierrot Yarns in Japan and entering their competition and that I think should see me pretty much up to date and blogging about things I'm either currently working on or have finished in the last week....

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

What littleberry did next.....

by my reckoning this post sort of takes me up to the end of January, but also includes a couple of projects that were done in March and April... and by the way I have found my crochet version of Swallowtail ;o)

OK deep breath... first up after all the crocheting for Christmas gifts was my Amijin Scarf (I'm assuming most of you reading my blog will be on Ravelry, if not give me a shout and I can point you in the right directions for pattern links). After all the gifts I'd made I decided it was something for me. I'd seen the pattern on Pierrot Yarns website and I fell in love with the colours they had used (they are not my normal choice of colours) so I ordered the yarn in the suggested colourways from Pierrot Yarns - English site. It was a quick and easy crochet pattern made all the more easier by being charted than written out - I find worded patterns are very hard to follow.... I 'get lost' in the words so to speak and keep loosing were I am up to and make mistakes.... now according to my Ravelry notes I had it done in 3 evenings so it must have been quick and easy ;o)

Mmm what was next??? Yes the Cabled Scarf (yes crocheted) for my friend Sharon aka Yarnimals birthday in early January. I found the Crochet Cable Scarf pattern on Ravelry, even if you don't use the forums or 'chat' much on Ravelry the pattern and yarn database is worth it's weight in gold. It was originally published in Crochet Today! Dec 2006 / Jan 2007 and is now available for free. I opted for DK weight and decided I'd try the newly launched (at the time) Patons (UK) Merino. This was a dream to work with, soft and squishy and bouncy and at £3.25 per 50g very reasonable. Thankfully Yarnimals was pleased with the gift :o)

Moving on towards the end of January now....My mum was 80 this January gone and you 've already seen the Swallowtail I did for her in hand spun, to be given to her at the SnB group. I also wanted to give her something personal from me that she would appreciate. So I decided that I would attempt to crochet a doily style runner for her in #20's crochet thread - eek!

I know I mentioned in an earlier post that my maternal grandmother was a superb crocheter especially of very fine work... so as my mum keeps things (not quite a hoarder) especially those of sentimental value (she was very close to her mum) I opted to go through her old patterns and of course her collection of thread inherited from her mother.

She'd already expressed an interest when I started crocheting about a runner for the top of the drawer unit in the conservatory in blue - so the project was an easy decision (that's half the battle for me, getting the right project for the person) and obviously the colour was an easy one too. I eventually found a pattern which  had first been published by Coats in 1965 and then reprinted in 1981 (so mum had obviously bought this one, as her mum died back in the early 1960's. It was the Motif Runner from the Wheat Ear Booklet. So armed with 5 balls of what I thought were the same colour and a 1.25mm hook off I went.

I decided I'd go for the main motifs in the main blue and then the filler motifs in a paler blue. I discovered while doing this project that while each ball may have the shade number in,, there is no dye lot on the ball; this is because the dye lot for the box comes on a slip of paper in the box.. it must have been a nightmare for shop keepers if they had boxes of different batches and one of my 5 balls was most definitely a different shade of blue. So in the end I had to shorten the runner by one motif and used the 5th ball to make the filler motifs.

and last but not least.... I decided to do something else for me.... I'd chosen a Japanese book from Mum as part of my Christmas present and it arrived a week before Christmas and as I'd already decided I had to crochet the Crescent Moon shawl, I ordered 2 balls of Noro Kureyon Sock in colour S188 (that lovely purple/green).

So as soon as Christmas was over I began :o) I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of this project :o) I used a 3.5mm hook for the body of the shawl and 2.5mm for the edging based on what one or two others had used. In the end I used approx 120g of yarn ( made myself a pair of socks with leftovers). Working from charts makes things so much easier IMHO, you can see what you're meant to be working towards, no transposing of US / UK terminology and you can see if you're on the right tracks! I was a little sad when this project was finished.

and socks with leftovers (although I still have a little left!) - yes I know they don't match fleegle!

I have to admit to loving this pattern and for me it has become to crochet what Swallowtail is to lace knitting for me :o) so needless to say I have done 2 more since January as gifts.... and again enjoyed working each one.

For my friend's daughter who was 16 in March I used Schoppel-Wolle Zauberball in colourway Café Flair

and then my best friend Janet was 40 on the 22nd April (same day as me) so what else do I make her ;o) I used Noro Kureyon sock in colourway S40

Now as I said more or less takes me up to the end of January and a little beyond... so hopefully next time we shall nearly be up to date!

Saturday, 22 May 2010

What I did at Christmas...

that, and it's about time I did another blog post ;o)

I know Christmas is a long time since well 5 months to be exact, but it's when I started crocheting - seriously anyway. Apart from the odd shawl and some socks, that's all I've been doing and done.

I've enjoyed the spontineity of it, the speed at which things evolve and it makes me use colours I normally wouldn't....

With doing the shawl for presents I didn't think my friends were going to get anything handmade for Christmas but I decide that I could manage the odd potholder.... I think I ended up making 12...

I think apart from the Cupcake potholder one of my favourites is the top right which came from a book called Crochet Things bought for me by my mother For Christmas 1980 with the inscription:
Needless to say my maternal grandmother was an exceptional crocheter....
Persevere Ann, and you will be as good as your Grandma Miller was with her crochet work.
Now as the potholders worked up so quickly I decided I could add something else to go with the potholders, what else would be quick? Mmmm a Tawashi... I've made these before using Patons FAB DK and though it may seem a strange gift to give, everyone who's had one wnats another as they really are very good at getting the pots clean. My favourite pattern I go back to time and time again is a free one from Pierrot Yarns

So by this time it's still mid November and I'm thinking what about a crochet gift box with a selection of thingsin for my friends??? In the end everyone ended up with a tawashi and potholder, 2 small items and one larger one... not bad for someone who didn't have time to make anything for Christmas this year!

So rather than have a picture heavy post and I get fed up of uploading photos.. here's some mosaic's

Lavender Sachets

Pincushions & More Tawashi

Other Items
oven mitts, duster mitt, brooch, brooch
potholder, brooch, doily, doily
doily, Milk Jug cover, Milk jug cover, Milk Jug cover

all these projects can be found on my projects page on Ravelry should you wish to know were the patterns are from and what yarns were used.....

Well that's it for now before I get fed up of linking all these photos that or I loose the post!

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Better Late than Never.....

But I find I'm not the only one who struggles to blog at all these days from those days not so long ago of blogging on a frequent basis if not a regular one.

Reading several blogs as I still do, several people have mentioned an apathy for blogging since Ravelry grew. Micki of thing4string in March nicely summed it up when she said she wasn't going to 'feel guilty' about blogging regularly and I have to agree. Every time I read someones blog I think I should blog but just never seem to find the umpf to do so... Neither will I feel guilty that my 'knitting blog' is not just about knitting and at the moment it may severely become about crochet as that's all seem to have done for the last 6 months or want to do in the foreseeable future... at the end of the day as long as it involves fibre or yarn, needles, hooks or wheels or even looms (yes I got one of those too)... it doesn't matter we're all 'fibre artists' and there's room for us all....

Anyway to catch up from were I left off last year with my last post of 5 down, 2 to go (in reference to the handspun, handknit shawls I was doing for decade birthdays)... Here are the remaining two shawls.....

On the 24th January 2010... my mum Cathleen was 80 so I spun some beautiful 'Chai' batts from Enchanted Knoll and knit my 6th Swallowtail for her (it's a classic design and will always remain so with me, I may even knit myself one at some point!)....

Sorry you will have to lie on your side to view this because I have to edit and re-upload I may never get this post posted!

For anyone who wnats more details here's a link to my Ravelry Page

Last but by no means least for 11th March 2010 our friend Enid was also 80 and again from Enchanted Knoll I spun 'Ursula' batts into heavy laceweight and knit another classic from Evelyn Clark 'Shetland Triangle' (a 2nd for me).

and again for more details a link to my Ravelry projects page

Now I think that's quite sufficient for today, don't you, I don't want to burn myself out so it's another 4 months before I post again.

Now I warn you next time there could be quite a recap of my crocheting exploits as most people got some form of crochet for Christmas last year!