New skills

A couple of posts ago, I mentioned that I’d treated myself to some new crochet needles, as a spur to help me learn. I learnt to knit as a child, taught by my mum, but I’d never got to grips with crochet, probably because she didn’t either! I like to learn by doing so I trawled http://www.ravelry.com for easy patterns, and with the help of http://www.crochetspot.com set to. I can thoroughly recommend it, if you want to learn, but bear in mind one thing (which I didn’t realise at first, which caused a fair amount of frustration) the UK and US have different terminology for the same stitch; eg a UK double crochet is a US single, and so on. So I learnt US because the majority of online patterns are from the states. I think once I’m more familiar with it all them I’ll manage to switch between both, but for the meantime I’ll stick with what I (nearly) know.
So….I thought I’d bring you a little pattern. I was inspired by this pattern http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/flower-tales-bookmark but I couldn’t work the tail, so I improvised and made my own version.

So you start with a magic circle (still working on that, sometimes it works, sometimes not so much) and sc 10 into it. Sl st to join.

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Chain 3, triple into next stitch, double into same stitch, sl to next. Repeat all the way round.

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Then ch approx 50 (or the length of a specific book) then sc 3 into the second chain from the hook, 2 into the next, 1 into the next then sl st to finish in the next. Weave in ends and you’re done. I like the little “j” shape, as its my initial but also as it curls round your pages like its keeping it safe! You can also do the magic circle and 10 in one colour then switch before chaining, like this

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I’m planning to stock some of these in my etsy shop when I get it going as they’re a quick and nifty little gift for people. I’m also looking at adding beads and sparkles and possibly doing them in wirework….which is where my next learning curve begins!

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Short, but hopefully momentous

There’s been too much work again, but in the tiny spaces there have been bookmarks and flowers and things I can’t mention til they get to their new owners. But right now, I’ve just cut the first piece of what I’m truly hoping is going to be stocking my soon to be set up e shops and ultimately, a year from now, allowing us to begin the life we’ve been aiming for all this time.

Terrifying and exhilarating in equal measure. And this is only the beginning.

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Short but sweet. Very sweet.

Work has been hideously busy so I need to gether my scattered thoughts for a proper post. Thursday night I arrived home to realise I’d left the house 14 hours previously. Not good.

But I’ve done three or four crochet projects as my first ventures into previously unchartered territory, the wild-grown end of my garden continues to delight the bees and the butterflies and also me, thanks to the bees, the butterflies and the bumper crop of raspberries I’m getting with almost no input from me – and it looks like it will be a good year for the blackberries too.

But mostly, it’s been all about work. Toby sums it up more eloquently than I.

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Babies come with hats

For my birthday earlier in the year, my lovely brother and his incredibly talented partern, http://www.missfortune.co.uk got me some Amazon vouchers. It was perfect timing, because I’d just decided to treat myself to some circular knitting needles, as it’s an area of knitting I’d never tried. I found some bamboo ones and something about them seemed to shout to me…and so I bought them. And, seeing as the company selling them also had bamboo straight one…well, it would have been rude not to, right?

I have to say, they’re a joy to use. I no longer get cramp in my hand or tired shoulders, and I love the feel of them, both in my hands and when the slide against one another, you dont get that metal-against-metal buzz that can set your teeth on edge. So what to choose for my first foray into circular knitting? Well, as these things often do, the right thing came along when I needed it. My friend Kelly is due Baby number 2 in a couple of weeks. But I’d done her bootees for the first one and wanted something a bit more. And then I found this http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/bunny-beanie How gorgeous is that?!

It started off well,

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and it was pretty straightforward, if a little weird feeling, and then I got to the crown. I only had about 9 stiches on and they barely filled the straight bit of the needle, let alone going all the way round. So I improvise, and used the next size needle and continued as if they were either end of a circular set. And I really don’t think you can tell. But if anyone has tips on that, let me know!

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So there was a hat….and now it needed ears.

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I actually think the ears were harder than the hat itself! I think if I were to do it again, I’d probably come up with a different take on it, they really were fiddly. But I think it was worth it…..

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Kelly loved it – and the amount of people who said “I want one in my size!” was quite terrifying! (Not that I hadn’t thought it myself!) So all in all, a fairly happy first use of circular needles, with a little help.

What’s next?