And then May was over…

flowers

May has been a month of birthdays and flowers. It begins with one (mine!) and ends with one and there are some in the middle. I’ve made a lot of cake. Yesterday I made a flippin’ gorgeous cake for Grandma (my mother-in-law!).

A delicious strawberry vanilla sponge cake.

I don’t often wander outside of my cakey bakey comfort zone. I stick to what I know because I will at least get something that works. However, I went rogue and found a new one on a blog!! Sometimes I get lost in all the recipes but I was very firm and decisive. I chose this moist and fluffy Vanilla cake.

A yummy birthday cake for summer.

I chose a stunner. Honestly, it was really good. I’m so glad I went with it because, well,  I almost didn’t.  I got all my ingredients ready (nothing daft, just ordinary cake ingredients) but hadn’t actually read the recipe properly. When everything was out and I was about to begin, I got all confused. This recipe is just egg whites, no yolk. Wha? Never seen that before. Thought it was just gonna be an ordinary sponge. Anyway, I went with it and out came a goodun.

Best summer cake ever!

I can’t leave anything alone though. I am not a strict follower of recipes. I grated in the zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange. I also only needed two cakes not three so did a bit of maths to sort that too. My insides were 300ml of double cream, a couple of spoons of icing sugar sieved in, and a teaspoon of vanilla extract. Whipped together and splodged inside, it made a very summery and delicious sponge cake. And I chopped strawberries and left them for a couple of hours in a weeny bit of sugar before spooning those on top of the cream.  If you want a birthday cake for the summer, this is it. I ate it for my breakfast this morning too. Still yummy.

Crochet diamond blanket

Anyway, moving on from talking about cake. I began this green crochet blanket a few weeks ago. It got sidelined by a couple of other wips but I got it out again yesterday and I’m enjoying it again. The pattern is easy to follow and I just know it’s going to look awesome. It’s called the Diamond Stitch baby blanket.

Making another granny square

This was one of the things that distracted me. Just a granny square blanket. But I needed to see what the colours would look like when I put them all together. Needed to.

crochet in the garden

The weather was glorious at the weekend so everyone sat outside to enjoy it. I finished off the granny square (it was never meant to be a giant).

BBQ in the garden.

It was so lovely we decided to have a BBQ in the garden. Another Yum moment. Love a BBQ but often too lazy to bother…

bbq

It always takes a while to get going because I don’t use firelighters. Instead I cross my fingers that I’ll find enough twigs in the garden to start it off.

Applique felt flower thingy

I’m still doing this. I started in the middle of March and haven’t got very far. It will look nothing like this once finished. I was just going to keep building up the layers to see what happened. I have a bouquet of wild spring flowers in mind. I was moving on from some mini spring flower applique/embroidery type thingies I made a a couple of months ago. A bigger project seems to have scuppered me somewhat.

Cherry Heart's Victoria Shawl. Fab pattern.

And then there was the shawl I made. I really do love this, It’s a delight!

Puffy edged Victoria Shawl.

I love that edging. I have never been able to come up with something like that from my own brain (not yet anyway). I went and treated myself to Cherry Hearts’ Victoria shawl. I mentioned this a little bit on the last post but I just want to show some more pictures of it because I like it so much.

I made Cherry Heart's Victoria shawl.

In real life my walls are a soft mossy green. Not the vommy putrescence they appear to be here.

Cherry Heart's Victoria Shawl in brown.

Last shawl pic. Until I make another one that is.

And that’s it for now. Just felt like I needed a catch up. Oh! But whilst I’m here I’m going to say thank you to Hannah at a Box of Buttons for nominating me for a Liebster Award and Eleanor from Harebells Crochet for nominating me for The Creative Blogger Award. Dead chuffed to get these, thank you so much. I’m not going to have time to do it properly. Basically, the bloggers I would end up nominating are in my blog roll on the side bar, so go and check those out! In my usual half arsed way I will share 5 facts about myself (and only because I did a fact thing on Instagram a few weeks ago and I’m just going to copy those!).

1. I have a degree in Art History. I have forgotten most of what I learned.

2. The longest job I ever had was working at the Odeon in Exeter (a long time ago during uni and after, when I couldn’t get a “real” job). I still have dreams where I’m cleaning up popcorn.

3. I’m from Southampton but I’ve lived in Devon for about 16/17 years.

4. I love books, TV and movies. I used to do a lot of of watching/reading before children and crochet. Children get put to bed and crochet gets put aside for The Walking Dead and A Game of Thrones (no spoilers please, I can’t get season 6 of GoT yet!).

5. Actually these facts aren’t that interesting so I think I’ll stop. Ooh, number 5… I’m really boring!

Another Granny Triangle Shawl!

bright crochet granny shawl

I’ve made another shawl. I couldn’t help myself. When I saw Drops yarn on sale the weekend before last, I had to buy some. It was for research purposes; I wanted to try out my granny triangle shawl pattern again. Take a look on Etsy, it’s for sale!

Colourful crochet granny shawl. Free pattern.

My original pattern is good and wintery. This time however, I wanted something with more of a drape. I chose Drops Baby Merino this time (it’s 4 ply) and added a chain between each cluster. I’d not used it before and I’m already using it again (another shawl pattern)! I like it, it’s good.

My crochet granny triangle shawl.

I thought the colours were a bit more summery and the drapey 4 ply would make it less stifling for the season. I’m really quite pleased. I used a 3.25mm hook.

blocking

I was very well behaved because I actually managed to block it. A cheats method of blocking but blocking nevertheless. I pinned it out directly on to the carpet (whilst I was watching the telly) and sprayed it with water. Just enough to lightly dampen it. I left it for a few hours and to make sure it was dry, I got the hair dryer on it. I wouldn’t advocate this method because somewhere along the line I will no doubt, end up ruining something.

Simple crochet edging.

I love the simple edging. It’s not hard to do. I changed the colour sequence as I didn’t want to buy loads of different balls just to do a couple of rows of each colour. It still is essentially the same thing as the original. It’s four 50gram balls of the green and one each of the other two.

Even though it was something I made up, I forgot how to do the edging so I dutifully followed my own pattern. It worked too (but I shouldn’t let on that I was surprised, of course it worked!). I should confess that I did have to bodge the corner/point. By adding the chains between clusters it changed from multiples of three to multiples of four. I had a skip a stitch here and there whilst making the scallops so that the middle cluster actually ended up in the middle. It’s not noticeable. Promise.

An easy crochet granny shawl. Free pattern.

The blocking definitely added to the drapey quality. It has also made the wool feel softer.

A really simple crochet granny shawl. Free pattern.

I took many many pictures, but sadly none of me wearing it this time. Shame. I got distracted by the cat. And then I started taking photos of other things around the room.

ivy with sylvac plant holder

Plants aside, I’ve got some pictures of the cat…

puss n shawl

Whenever something woolly comes out she decides it’s somewhere she wants to be. Good old Marceline (not that old, she’s only turning one sometime toward the end of the month).

sleepy kitty

Sleepy kitty.

woke the cat up

And then she spotted me.

Really Easy Crochet Shawl: A Simple Granny Triangle Pattern.

Simple Granny Triangle Shawl. Really easy free pattern.

This was a really fast make that I speedily churned out last week. It has turned out much nicer than I thought it would, I’m ever so pleased. It has also come at a very convenient time because as soon as the last end was sewn in, the temperature dropped and it was literally freezing outside.

Crochet Granny Shawl. Free pattern.

Whilst there are numerous Granny triangle patterns already out there, I didn’t bother checking any out until after I’d started this one. It was mainly to see if I was doing it the way others did. Mostly I was but I think they’re all unique in some way.

shawl mirror

I’ll share what I did here, with pictures, so if anyone else wants to make it, then they can. It is a good beginners project. I started it on a Monday and finished it on a Friday. It was taken out with me when I went places, so I could pick it up and stitch a few rows here and there. Or I just plonked myself in front of the telly of a chilly night.

Drops Lima DK

I’ve used Drops Lima, which is an Alpaca/wool mix double knit. I fell in love with Drops when I squished a few balls of it in a shop in Nailsworth (just outside Stroud) last year.  It was Karisma, which I went on to use in the Lilypad Fireplace blanket. For this shawl I used Lima in the following: Off White x5, and one of each of Goldenrod (!), Powder Pink, Cerise, Pistachio, Grey Blue and Dark Blue.

The pattern uses UK terms but it isn’t difficult to translate to US crochet speak. I used a 4mm hook. The 3ch at the beginning of rows always counts as a first stitch.

Abbreviations:

ch= chain

ch sp= chain space.

dc= double crochet (US single)

trb= treble crochet (USdouble)

htrb= half treble.

ss= slip stitch

st= stitch

Fo= fasten off.

^ = little arrow pointing upwards!

Granny Triangle Shawl.

Start with a slip stitch.

Get yourself a slip knot and put it on your hook. You’ll need to do this for the colour changes too.

Beginning your granny triangle shawl

To begin, ch4 and join with a ss to make a circle. (A magic circle might work better for this but I didn’t even think of doing it at the time!)

Row 1: ch3 (remember that this counts as the first stitch!)[top left pic ^)], 2trb into the circle, ch2, 3trb into the circle [top right pic ^].

Row 2: Ch3 [bottom left pic ^] and turn. Make 2trb into the first st [bottom right pic ^]. In the middle ch sp make 3trb, ch2, 3trb. In the last st [top of the 3ch] make 3trb.

Beginning row three of granny shawl

Row 3: ch3 [left pic ^] and turn. Make 2trb into first st [right pic ^]. In the next ch sp make 3trb, in the middle ch sp make 3trb, ch2, 3trb. In the next ch sp make 3trb. In the last stitch of the row [top of the 3ch] make 3 trb.

Many rows later...

Continue as Row 3 until you’ve used all the main colour. fo. I used 5x 50g balls.

Nearly four balls in.

It should look something like this ^.

changing colours.

For colour changes, make a slip knot with your chosen colour and attach to the top of the first st with a ss. Carry on as normal. I did two rows of each colour.

Granny stripe edging

Scallop edging.

Attach the Powder Pink the same way as usual.

Row1: Ch3 and then make 1trb in the top of each stitch all the way along to the end. In the middle ch sp make 2trb, ch1, 2trb.

Row2: Ch3 and turn. 4trb in same st. *Miss 1 st. Ss in the next. Miss 1 st, 5trb in the next. Repeat from * until the middle, which has 7trb rather than 5. Continue on your merry way until the end of the row. The last scallop of trbs is finished with a ss in the same st, which should hopefully be the last st of the row. fo.

the tip

Back loops only for this row apart from the slip stitches. With the right side of the scallops facing you, attach Cerise. Ch2. In the top of each trb make a htrb. Ss in top of all ss. For the middle scallop: Make 1htrb in the top of each of the first two trbs, 1trb in the next st, 3trbs in the next (middle) st, 1trb in the next st, and 1htrb in each of the last two st. The rest are the same as the first half of the row. Fasten off and sew in ends!

Crochet shawl. Ridiculously easy shawl pattern.

Blocking maybe a good idea at this stage but as I’m incredibly lazy I haven’t bothered with it. It might benefit the edging if it is particularly curly, but I think it adds to the scallopy effect.

And that is it. I feel like I’ve seen the word Scallop a few too many times now, not sure I’m keen.

another crappy self portrait.

I’ve been wearing it like a scarf. Look! A crappy self portrait. I chose this one for the Minecraft picture in the back ground. It wasn’t until afterward that I cleaned the mirror. Wish I’d done my eyebrows.

cat tail.

When trying to take pictures, it takes twice as long when the cat wants to get involved.

By the way, please only make these for yourself or your friends. Don’t sell what you’ve made and don’t sell the pattern. Thanks. Feel free to comment or say hello! [Edit] And check out my summery version here!

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Some random crafting and baby vegetables

mohair shawl

I made this  a couple of weeks ago. It is a mohair mix that used to be a jumper in the 90’s. It was unravelled by a 92 year old woman and remade as a shawl by me for her daughter (my Mother-in-law!). The pattern is the Elise shawl I found on Ravelry. It was nice and straight forward to make.

blocking crochet

It needed blocking, which I did directly on the bedroom carpet. I don’t have any fancy blocking boards (if such things exist). I’m not sure this method is recommended but it works for me.  Any way, it turned out well so that’s all that matters.

handmade reversible bag

As an accompanying gift to go with the shawl I made this reversible bag. The tutorial is  clear and easy to follow. A few years ago I made a knitting needle case for my Mother-in-law out of the same fabric so I thought it would make a nice matchy matchy present. If I remember correctly the fabric was from Ikea. I probably bought it about four years ago. Hmm,  I obviously didn’t press this bag very well.

hook yarn and crochet

I also made up a very quick project from the book Hook, Yarn and Crochet by Ros Badger. I bought a ball of King Cole Cottonsoft DK especially for this one. This was beautiful stuff to use. I’d love to make a baby blanket out of it but can’t justify it at the moment. If any one I know begets a child then I might consider spending the extra to buy some.

blue crochet lamp shade

It’s a lamp shade cover! Now I’ve remembered that I still haven’t sewn in the ends yet, as soon as I finished it, it was shoved straight on. Maybe I’ll do that job today. It left the room a little bit darker but I like it. With the left overs I made four little coasters but I haven’t taken any pictures of those.

first veg

At the beginning of the week I came with up some excuse that these new vegetables were ready to eat. In reality they were super small and probably needed a weeny bit longer suckling from their roots.

baby courgettes and broad beans

Nevermind, we ate them anyway! I fried them in butter with garlic and lots of salt and pepper. Looking in the garden yesterday, everything has replenished and there are definitely some spoils to be had. Properly grown this time I reckon.

Good, now I feel as though I’m catching up with crafting projects. I have a few things half done and some things waiting to get started but I’ve also ticked other things off the list, which makes me feel better.

Granny shawl number two!

I have finally finished and blocked my second shawl. I like it a lot. So far neither of my shawls have made it out the front door, I am not quite brave enough to go out wearing one yet. Maybe up to school and back? I’m not sure. The farthest I have ventured is into the back garden, floating about around the flowers pretending that I am not in a terrace of houses and that the neighbours aren’t there wondering what I’m up to.

vintage looking granny shawl

It looked a bit iffy before I blocked it because I went rogue with the pattern. It’s the second time I’ve used Made by Leen‘s April Flower Shawl pattern and I will probably be tempted to make it again.  But not any time soon because I have a very long list of other things to make besides shawls.

new crochet granny shawl

Once again I went for a different edging. That way, you know no one else has the same. I used  Edie Eckman’s Crochet Borders book again (pattern no. 22) but changed the pointy bit. In retrospect I’m not sure I should have tinkered with it so much, but I did and once I’d done it, I wasn’t going to unravel it all!

Another granny shawl

These colours are much more me than the first crochet shawl although I do love them both. It’s the same stuff; Stylecraft Life DK. It has wool in it so it is nice and warm. I have loads left over which will go towards making a flowery blanket, that is somewhere on my to do list but nowhere near the top.

spring garden flowers

This is the garden that I’ve been floating about in. Actually, we have all been in the garden this weekend and no one did much floating about. The grown ups did digging, planting and building whilst the children played and partially destroyed the grown up’s hard work.

not as sunny as yesterday

That clematis is only a few years old and looks pretty awesome already.

clematis

Look at the awesome!

 

 

Shawl making

I have seen loads of shawls about in the last year, some really nice ones. It’s the ultimate Granny accessory. Naturally, I wanted one, so I made one! And now I’m making another.

Here is my first one. I found a lovely free pattern, the April Flower shawl on Made by Leen.

shawl finished

I changed the border as I fancied something a bit pointier, I used Edie Eckman’s  book Crochet Borders  to choose which I wanted. I also swapped to a different colour in the middle of the broad stripe but for the most part I have stuck to the pattern and I think it’s great! It was very to quick to make and now I am nearing the end of my next shawl using the same pattern.

shawlstripe

 

I love the colours. They’re much better than the first one I did, where I grabbed colours without thinking. I’ve tinkered with the stripe on this one, just to make it different from the first one I made. I have no idea which border I’ll choose next but I have a couple of ideas. I might also stick to the original pattern for this one, it’ll make it softer.

noedit

I have used Stylecraft Life DK for both of these. I got it in the sale in my local shop. I bought more than I know what to do with, but that’s OK!

I’ve got loads of projects in my head but I should probably finish off the blanket which I started before the shawls. There are 100 crochet circles in a bag, hiding in the cupboard under the stairs. They are waiting to have their ends sewn in. Boo.