Sunday, 18 December 2016

Advent - Part Two

Well as expected this week has gone by in a blur.  We have had Christmas lunch at my school, my son's nativity play, my work's do, visiting Santa in his grotto, decorating the tree and carols by candlelight...

This morning we had a lovely breakfast at our local garden centre.  Little T protested greatly at having to get dressed so early on a Sunday, but I gently pointed out that there might be a special someone there today...



After visiting the big man we meandered around the garden centre looking at the Christmas displays.  We spent a long time looking at all the lovely decorations.  Every year I always buy something new for our tree and this year we picked out a silver filigree star with crystal drops.  

Once home the tree was finally decorated.  It has actually been up for a couple of weeks with only the lights and some tinsel, waiting patiently for the rest it's adornments.  I like to take my time with the baubles, removing them from their boxes and carefully unwrapping the tissue paper.  We have little china angel bells, a frosty Santa, owls and hedgehogs, countless sparkly glittery balls and of course many hand made ornaments.  Finally a glittering of icicles.  The single ornaments that I buy each year are my favourites to unwrap.  It's like meeting up with an old friend you have not seen for a long time and each of them holds memories of things that happened in the year that I bought them...


In the evening we went to Carols by Candlelight at my local church.  The service was beautiful as always.  I particularly enjoyed the song performed by "The Choir With no Name"... and of course there were lots of old favourites.


The adorable knitted nativity that they bring out every year.



It was lovely to spend the evening contemplating the true meaning of Christmas...

"And the word became flesh, and dwelt among us"
John 1:14

Catherine
x

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Saturday, 17 December 2016

Free Pattern - Pocket Tissue Cosy

Need a last minute gift for someone?  This quick and easy pocket tissue cosy is just the thing.  Makes a perfect stocking filler or just a little something extra for that special someone.  You can make this with any yarn weight and the pattern will also work to cosy up your mobile phone or tablet.  The cover is easily adaptable for any size...



This pattern is written in American terminology.

You will need

Yarn, small amounts of any weight
Crochet hook corresponding to your yarn weight (4 mm hook for DK, 5 mm for Aran etc.)
Wool needle
Stitch marker (I just use a scrap of yarn for this...)
A button
Optional, crochet flowers or other embellishments


Stitches used

sc single crochet
hdc half double crochet
ldc linked double crochet (if you have never used this stitch before you can find a great tutorial here)


Round 1 Make a chain that is the same width as your packet of tissues (or phone / tablet) chain 1 more and make 3 sc into the 2nd chain from the hook place your marker in the first of these sc, sc into every chain untill the last chain, sc 3 into last chain, now turn your work and continue working sc's into the under side of your chain.

Do not join we will be working in a spiral

Round 2 1 hdc into the first sc of previous round (remember to move your marker at the start of each round), dc into the next stitch, ldc into the next stitch and each stitch around.



Continue in rounds working ldc into every stitch until your crochet is the same length as your pocket tissues (it is a good idea to try your cosy on after the first couple of rounds to check the fit).  Try your cosy on again, it should fit fairly tightly add extra rounds if you need to...

Once your cosy is the right length finish 2 stitches before the marker, hdc in the next stitch, sc in the following stitch and in every stitch around, join with a slip stitch.  Optional -  work 1 round of crab stitch (reverse sc), bind off.


Make Button Loop 

Sew your button onto the front of your cosy near the top.  Chain enough stitches to make a loop that will go from the back of the cosy, around your button and back again.  I use a size smaller hook for this.  Thread your tails onto a wool needle and sew in place at the back of the cosy.   You can leave your cosy just as it is or add crochet flowers, ribbons, appliques etc...




Now give your cute gift to your loved one, or make loads and keep one for yourself...

Have a very merry Christmas

Catherine
x

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Monday, 12 December 2016

Advent

Well haven't the last few weeks been super busy.  There has been lots of crochet, school Christmas Fairs, School discos, The annual Reindeer Parade and of course the Christmas craft Market.  I have also been doing a little pattern testing on Ravelry, hence the neglect of any bloggy pursuits.  I'm hoping the next couple of weeks will calm down a little but who am I kidding...

I have just enough time to share a few photos with you.

The Reindeer Parade.  
We love to go to this every year.  It begins outside Windsor Castle with a marching band, 


followed by Santa's Elves


and finally the big man himself with his reindeer...





We like to follow the parade as it winds its way around Windsor.  The band playing a jolly rendition of "Santa clause is Coming to Town" and little T madly waving his flag... Having children certainly brings back the magic of Christmas. I am fondly reminded of the traditions we kept when I was a child and now I have the pleasure of making new traditions with my own.

This weekend was the Christmas Market that I have been busily been preparing for.  I arrived early to set up and had plenty of time to relax for a bit before it all started.  The other stall holders were all amazingly friendly and very complementary of my table (I was more than a little nervous it being my first craft fair...).

There were hotties, stockings and baubles galore...











It was a little on the quiet side but the atmosphere more than made up for it.  Everyone was visiting each others stalls and buying those last minute gifts.  I had my lovely friend Karen along to help me who did very well on the raffle.  We even had a visit from the infamous Captain Jack Sparrow. 


Here he is with the lovely Sarah from The Mint Makeover.

I hope you are all enjoying the Christmas festivities where ever you are.  Take care...

Catherine
x

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Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Free Pattern - Granny Stripe Christmas Stocking

Inspired by all the lovely Granny Stripe blankets out there I wanted to create something similar in a Christmas Stocking.  I searched the Internet and didn't quite find what I was looking for so decided to design a pattern myself.  



This pattern is written in American terminology and is suitable for a beginner.  You may use as many colours as you like, making this project perfect for stash busting.

You will need...
Main part of the stocking approximately 100g of DK
Contrast colour (heal, toe and cuff) approximately 30g of DK
Size 4 mm crochet hook (G)
Wool needle
Optional - ribbon for hanging, pom poms, buttons, bells etc. to decorate your stocking

Stitches used...
dc - double crochet
Granny cluster - 3 dc in one stitch or space
slip stitch
dc2tog - double crochet 2 together

When starting a new colour I always use a standing dc for my first stitch and a no chain dc when starting a new round with the same colour.  There are some great videos showing you how to do this on YouTube here and here.  You can of course use the traditional method of joining with a slip stitch and chaining 3 if you wish.

Round 1 with contrast colour starting with chain 4 join to form a loop and work 15 dc into the loop, join with a slip stitch (15 dc)
Round 2 2 dc in each stitch around (30 dc)
Round 3 [2 dc in the first stitch, 1 dc into the next stitch] repeat around (45 dc)
Round 4 [2 dc in the first stitch, 1 dc into the next 2 stitches] repeat around (60 dc)




Rounds 5-7 dc in each stitch around.




Round 8 main colour(s) [work 3 dc into the next stitch (one granny cluster formed), skip 2 stitches] repeat around (20 granny clusters)



Round 9 if you are starting a new colour work a granny cluster into any space between the clusters on previous row.  If continuing in same colour slip stitch across to the next space and work your granny cluster here.  Continue round working a granny cluster into each space, join each round with a slip stitch.



Round 10-21 as round 9

Commence heel...
Row 1 in contrast colour starting in the first stitch of any granny cluster work 24 dc turn

Row 2 dc in the next 10 stitches, dc2tog, dc2tog, dc in the last 10 stitches turn (22 dc)
Row 3 dc in the next 9 stitches, dc2tog, dc2tog, dc in the last 9 stitches (20 dc)
Row 4 dc in the next 8 stitches, dc2tog, dc2tog, dc in the last 8 stitches (18 dc)
Row 5 dc in the next 7 stitches, dc2tog, dc2tog, dc in the last 7 stitches (16 dc)

Row 6 dc in the next 6 stitches, dc2tog, dc2tog, dc in the last 6 stitches (14 dc)
Fold the heal in half and make a slip stitch in the first stitch of previous row.


Continue in rounds...
Round 22 work a granny cluster into the space you just made with your slip stitch.  Working along the side of your heel rows [skip one dc, then work a dc cluster into the side of the next dc] x3.  You should now have one cluster in the space at the back of the heel and 3 clusters along the side of the heel.  Now continue across the main part of the stocking working a granny cluster into each space until you get to the other side of the heel.  Work a granny cluster into the side of the first dc on the heel, [skip 1 dc, granny cluster into the next dc] x2, slip stitch to join.

Round 23-45 as round 9

Begin cuff
Round 46-49 in contrast colour work 4 rounds of granny clusters
Round 50 dc in each stitch around

Round 51 working from the wrong side (this is easiest if you turn the stocking inside out) and working in back loops only dc in each stitch around

Plain cuff
Round 52-56 dc in each stitch around
Fasten off

Lace cuff
Round 52 [dc in the next stitch, skip 2 stitches, 2 dc in the next stitch, chain 2, 2 dc in the same stitch, skip 2 stitches] repeat around and join with a slip stitch
Round 53 [dc in dc from previous round, 3 dc in chain 2 space, chain 2, 3 dc in same space] repeat around and join with a slip stitch
Round 54 [sc in dc from previous round, 4 dc in chain 2 space, chain 2, 4 dc in same space] repeat around and join with a slip stitch
Round 55  [slip stitch in the next 4 dc, slip stitch in chain space, chain 3, slip stitch in first chain of chain 3, slip stitch in same chain space, slip stitch in the next 4 dc, slip stitch in next sc] repeat around and join with a slip stitch 
Fasten off

Sew heel closed and weave in ends

Hanging loop...

You can either sew a loop of ribbon to the top of your stocking or simply crochet a hanging loop as follows...

Row 1 chain 21 sc in 2nd chain from hook and in every chain, bind off.
Fold in half and sew onto the top of your stocking.


Use as many or as few colours as you like...



 and you can add all sorts of extras, bows, bells, pom poms.  Just use your imagination.  I made an applique star for this one and a lacy  cuff...



I hope you like the pattern and I would love to see some photos if you make one.

Happy Christmas crafting!

Catherine
x

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Saturday, 19 November 2016

Busy, busy, busy!

This week has been very exciting for me, very exciting and very busy.  Firstly I received my first ever commission from my Etsy shop and secondly I have been beavering away making lots of things for my craft stall at the Pudding Cup Art Market.  

I don't know if you remember this post here where I made myself a crochet hot water bottle cover? 

 Well I put a picture of it in my Etsy shop and last weekend I received a request for a custom order of 4 covers.  I must say I was both excited and terrified at the same time, (excited to receive my first order but a little worried how well they would be received...).  I think I tend to be a little over critical about my work.
The colours for the hot water bottle covers were chosen by my customer from the Woolcraft DK range.  Luckily I had all the colours she requested so could get started right away.

The covers incorporate the beautiful Sunburst Granny Square pattern by Priscilla Hewitt, which is available for free at Ravelry.  I really think that this pattern can make any colour combinations look truly amazing.





All ready to be shipped off to their new owner..


and she was kind enough to email me when she received them
"They are wonderful" she said.  Panic over!

Now time to crack on with my craft table...
 I found some Jarol Heritage yarn in my stash and made these

African Flower pincushions...



and key rings made from Fabel sock yarn.



I got the idea for the pincushions from this pattern here by Cherry Heart.  I didn't really use the pattern (I have made so many African flowers I can make them by heart) and I just winged the rest; but if any of you would like to make one, the pattern is available for free on her blog.

Perhaps they will make a nice Christmas gift for someone. 

Thank you for visiting me in the Lodge,
see you soon...

Catherine
x

Sunday, 13 November 2016

This week...

 Some lovely ladies over at Ravelry have been kindly testing my Sock Yarn Baubles pattern.  I would just like to thank them all, for the time and effort they have put into this.  If you are interested in taking part in some pattern testing head on over to this group.  Designers can showcase their new patterns and have them tested and as a reward the testers get to try out new patterns before they are published free of charge.

I am very excited to share with you some photos of the baubles made with my pattern.

This one is lovely and bright.  Sock yarn is always a delight to work with as you watch the colours change as you crochet...


I love the sparkly yarn used in these two.  Anything with a bit of glitter or sparkle always gives me that "it's nearly Christmas" feeling.


The variegation in this one is very pretty...



and lastly another sparkly bauble in traditional red gold and green.


Thank you again ladies your baubles are going to make your tree look extra special this year...

Ta ta for now!

Catherine
x

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Pudding Cup Art Market

Gosh, what a busy day I have had today.  I spent a couple of hours this morning at the allotment.  It was the most glorious sunny day here in Berkshire, not a cloud in the sky.  Then home to cook Sunday Lunch, Roast chicken with all the trimmings... and then after lunch I went to our local monthly craft fair.  Pudding Cup Art Market.



By this afternoon sadly the sun was disappearing and the temperature had dropped considerably, so sensibly everyone at the market had their stalls inside in the warm.  I love perusing craft fairs and especially love to stop and chat to the crafters about their wares.  I am always fascinated to hear about how things are made.  Especially crafts that I know nothing about...

This stall caught my eye as I walked in.  They were displaying the most beautiful glass jewellery.


Another table had some really cute ornaments made from Fimo clay.


More hanging decorations...


These super cute doggy face cloths.  What an ingenious idea.


Beautiful hand painted Christmas cottages, jewellery boxes and bird houses.


More tree ornaments.  These ones made from felt are just adorable.


Pretty tea cup candles.


Home made fudge!  Oh my goodness I just had to buy some of this...


and finally my most favourite stall 

The Mint Makeover, decoupaged furniture, lanterns, candles and gifts.


These stunning items are made by Sarah Jennings and would you believe it she makes them all from paper napkins.  I chatted to Sarah when I visited the market last month and she was happy to share with me exactly how she makes these beautiful pieces.  


This snowman ornament is one of my favourites, he is just so perfectly jolly.  Exactly how a snowman should be...


I chatted to Sarah again today and she was kind enough to give me lots of tips and advice about running your own craft stall.  Which leads me to my very exciting news.

Next month I will be having my very own table at the market.  I am so excited!  I have never had a stall before.  Over the next few weeks I shall be like one of Santa's little helpers busy making things to sell.

The next market will be The Christmas Extravaganza on the 11th of December at the Clewer Youth and Community Centre on Parsonage Lane, Windsor.  Starts at 12 midday  going on until 4 pm.  They will be having a bouncy castle, raffles, name the teddy bear, the teddy bear raffle and of course all the lovely artisan stalls.  All proceeds go to Whizz Kids, a charity that works to support and transform the lives of disabled children in the UK.

So if you are local be sure to pop on by...

I made it home just in time before the rain started and treated myself to a nice cup of tea and some Salted Caramel Fudge.
Delicious!


Have a fantastic week

Catherine
x