Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Crocheting For My Holidays

Sorry that I have been missing for so long. I have Buster full time now which limits my crocheting time. Last week I also looked after my next door neighbours dogs as they went on their holidays.

I can't remember if I told you on my last blog that I am unexpectedly going away for a week to Skiathos. because of this I have been crocheting a few things for my holidays and also trying out some ideas that I can personalise to put for sale on my Facebook page Urban Gypsy Crochet. I haven't listed anything on Etsy for a while as I didn't get many sales. I may try again with my Autumn and Winter designs.

The video is taking ages to upload today. I do hope that Blogger manages it ..( I could not upload it in the end so I will have to try another day). The reason that I haven't blocked the shawl for the Mother of the groom yet is that I decided after blocking dozens of shawls to treat myself to some blocking wires which are somewhere in the post. I look everyday for them to arrive. The more that I want something to arrive the longer it seems to take.

This is the Trippy Tunic pattern by the Double Stitch Twins. The pattern is free on the Red Heart site. I had seen this many times but always crocheted in the very bright colours as per the pattern and though that it was not for me. I decided to crochet this in black and on a smaller hook so that it isn't quite so baggy and loose on me. I like the fact that it can be worn over a dress with the belt or loose as in this next photo.

The loose version is great over a vest top and shorts or even on the beach as a cover up.

This is another Double Stitch twins design. Again a free pattern on the Red Heart site. It is called the Two Tone shrug as on the pattern they make it with one colour for the front and another for the back. This size came out too large for me ( I made the XL) so I had to add a drawstring around the bottom edge.

This one is the smaller size which fits me better according to my taste. Although I am a larger lady I don't like things too loose. I just made these in the cheaper acrylic yarn as I like to try out patterns that I am not sure about in something not too expensive in case I don't like them. I do like this pattern and feel sure that I will be making more of these, or similar, for the Autumn to be worn over a sweater. I have already started one in finer yarn for a friend's Birthday.

This is my version of the Knot Ugly Shrug from Stitch n' Bitch The Happy Hooker book. I altered the pattern to make it longer as I wanted it to fasten at the waistline and not just under the bust. Although this pattern is easy I wouldn't make it in one piece next time as it is difficult to judge the length of the sleeves. I would make it conventionally with stitched in sleeves.

This is the sweater that looks much better on me than it does on the slimmer model. I am still not sure if I like it as it is a mix of patterns. The top part comes from a Doris Chan pattern that was free on Caron. I didn't want the very openwork chain bodywork as on the pattern so I made mine more of a solid pattern but somehow it doesn't sit right and tends to twist around. Thankfully I only used a cheaper acrylic yarn for it so it will get worn as a house sweater.

This is a stole made as a present for the bride. I haven't made it for her to wear on the day it's just a general one for her to use as either a stole or a scarf when the weather goes a bit cooler in Skiathos. The pattern is the Sweet Lorraine by Doris Chan and the pattern gives instructions for a skinny scarf, a scarf, a stole and a throw. She gives information on how many extra stitches to add per pattern repeat.

It is a winter white shade rather than a bright white as the yarn is a mix of cashmere, silk and lambswool that I bought from Hong Kong via EBay. It is beautifully soft and I am going to  order some more in a different colour to make something similar for my Sister in Law for Christmas. The yarn is so soft and light and yet so warm.

Because it is so light it scrunches up easily into a scarf for a chilly winter day.

The video is taking ages to upload. I have an awful feeling that it is not going to be on this blog at all. I will leave it for a while. It appears to be stuck tight at the end. I have tried 3 times to upload it onto here but my PC is running rather slowly today.

I am getting quite excited now that my holiday is getting nearer. I don't want to say exactly when I am going for security reasons as you never know who is reading this blog and so knows when my house will be empty. I have nothing of value but it's just the thought that someone might steal my yarn stash. Now that would be a nightmare.  Eep!

I will try to blog a little more often now that life is settling down into some sort of a routine. I am sorry if there isn't a video attached to this blog. What I have written would make a lot more sense if you could also see the video.

Have a great crafting day - Jan x

Monday, 13 August 2012

I Love Vintage Yarn

Sorry that it has been so long since I last posted but for once the sun has  been shining in the UK and I have been sitting out in the garden making the most of it.

The first bit of non crochet news

Buster is here. Not just for a week but to stay permanently (apart from holidays) I am back to being his Mum again instead of Gran. He has quickly made himself at home. I bought him a new ball to welcome him. Noise warning comes with this video.

It doesn't take much to make him happy. I was happy too to wake up to a loving pair of eyes. It doesn't take much to make me happy either. There is nothing in the world like the love of a dog.

As you know I am unexpectedly going to Skiathos with a friend. As I have not had time to save up for this holiday I am having a sale of the crochet items that I have made for craft fairs. I have decided that apart from an odd local one I am giving up the craft fairs. I don't have transport and I don't like having to ask my niece to take me here and there. She has a full time job with little spare time so I don't like to impose.
My crochet is displayed on my Facebook page Urbangypsycrochet Even if you don't want to buy anything then please view and like my page. So far I have just sold the brightly coloured circle waistcoat.

I have finished the short sleeved jacket for my friend's Mother to wear  at a wedding. The yarn that I have used is absolutely gorgeous. It is some vintage Emu Silhouette that I managed to find on Ebay. I used to sell this yarn in my wool shop and still have one crochet top made from it. It is silky and drapey and just feels so luxurious. I managed to get hold of some peach colour as well.

I just love the way that it drapes.

The pattern may still be available as it isn't that long since I bought it. It is Sirdar 8699.

I did change the edging. On the pattern it has just a plain UK double crochet but I added a fancier edging as it is for a wedding.

This is what I am crocheting at the moment. I bought from Ebay some cashmere, wool and silk yarn from China some time ago. it is lovely and soft but I decided not to use it for my great nephew as it is not machine washable. I am instead making a stole with it. It is a gift for someone so I can't say more at this stage. I am using the Sweet Lorraine Throw pattern by Doris Chan from the Interweave Crochet Fall 2008 magazine. It is a great patterns as it tells you how many stitches to chain on for a narrow scarf, a wider scarf, a stole and a throw. It also says how many extra chain that you need to add extra patterns. This yarn is a fine 3 or 4ply so although I am using a 5mm hook I had to add extra sts to the stole pattern to make it that bit wider. I wish now that I had added another pattern set to it but once it is wet blocked then hopefully it will be wider when it is finished.

The stitches are now out from behind my ear. I have not heard anything back from the hospital about the biopsy so I work on the theory that no news is good news. I am not really a worrier. I tend only to worry once I have cause. I am sure that if the lump wasn't benign that they would have told me by now,

Today is still fine but unfortunately the sun seems to have gone into hiding. It is still warm enough to have the patio doors open so that Buster can go in and out of the garden as he wishes. He is getting older now and needs more bathroom breaks than he used to. This is one reason why I now have him permanently as my son and his wife work full time. He is a very affectionate dog and needs more attention than he gets being one of three dogs. It's a win, win situation all around. I get company and he gets cuddles. The only thing that he will be short of is good long walks but then he is older now and doesn't need to walk as far.He is happy exercising in the garden with his ball.

Happy Crocheting xx

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Fait Main Special Crochet Magazine

I fell in love with this magazine when I saw the one that my friend Sue had brought back from her holiday to France a few weeks ago. As  it is a French magazine no-one in the UK stocked it so I had to search online for it. I was trying to find a stockist in France so that maybe the postage would have been less but all I could find was a company with the lovely name of Irene and Mr Sheep  who are based in Canada. I managed to order it but it cost me $28 with the postage.

Those of you who follow me know that when my heart is set on something to do with crochet then I will pay anything within reason to get what I want.

I have put it in a video as there are so many designs to take photos of. I didn't want to appear on the video as although today I was able to wash my hair, for the first time since my operation to remove a hopefully benign lump from my right ear, I still have stitches in and swelling and my right ear sticks out a bit like a cab door. I do hope that this is a temporary look. Stitches come out on Wednesday.

Anyhow enough about me. The video also has glimpses of my furry Grandson Buster who is here for a few days so not much crochet will get done until he goes home again on Sunday.

I am going to grab my crochet and try to get some done in the garden. Buster is easy to look after when the weather is nice as all he wants to do is sit in the garden with bursts of energy when we play catch with his ball. His friend Poppy nips through the hedge to say hello but as neither of them are young and sprightly any more they are more like a doggy Darby and Joan couple.

I do hope that you like the designs. I am going to be brushing up on my very rusty schoolgirl French and trying to understand the diagrams. I would like to make so many of these before the Summer ends (if it ever arrives).

Happy Crocheting

Saturday, 28 July 2012

A Tour Around the Workroom

As I am starting to recover my energy, after feeling so lack lustre for weeks,  I spent yesterday swapping things about in the house. The video today is a tour of what I have achieved so far. There is still a lot more to do but when you consider that my house was beginning to resemble an episode of Hoarders then I am quite pleased with the results so far. As my friend says now that I have tidied it then it's time to use some of the yarn hoard before I buy anything else. As she is not a crocheter I resisted the urge to kill her. My crocheting friends understand fully where I am at but even they don't understand this compulsion that I seem to have for collecting (a nicer word than hoarding) all things crafty especially yarn related.

 I think that it all stems from my childhood when after the war everything was rationed and hard to get. My Mother used to hoard up anything that could be used or re-used.  Bits of wool and buttons. My Father was the same only he hoarded anything vaguely DIY like nails, screws, string and bits of wood. My aunt used to sew and saved all the offcuts from the dresses that she made, for other people, to make things for me. My Brother still has almost every book that he has bought in his lifetime, His house is like a huge library and his garage is wall to wall books. There is barely room for his small car.

 I think that you can safely say that hoarding is in my genes. We are a great family of collectors. My Son collects motor bikes and spares. His Father, my ex,  has a garage full of things that might come in useful one day.

This afternoon I am going to my Brother and Sister in Law's to meet up with the rest of their family to celebrate their Ruby Wedding Anniversary. I will see my Great Nephew J.P who is now 3 months old. I haven't seen him since he came up from London when he was a couple of weeks old. He will really look different this time. I believe that he is still a red head. My younger niece used to have reddish blonde hair as a child and her husband has red hair too.. His Dad and my Sister in law were also red headed when young so J.P had more than a 50/50 chance of red hair.

I had better hit the shower and get dressed. I knew that my new dresses would come in handy. Since I bought them I have had a few chances to wear them. Now if only the weather would stay sunny and then I can wear my new shorts and vest tops. I only wear them in the garden but the weather hasn't been warm enough for that except for a couple of days but that was before I bought them.

Happy Crocheting!

Thursday, 26 July 2012

My Abakhan Challenge for July

If you are a follower of my blog then you will know that I accepted a challenge from Abakhan  to turn £15 worth of anything that they sell into a project. As I am a crocheter and sometime knitter of course I chose yarn. This project was supposed to have been my June project but as I have been plagued my some health issues and a couple of deadlines this has turned into my July project.

The theme of my project was to try to be able to wear Summery clothes even when the weather wasn't particularly warm and sunny. We all have those summer dresses in the wardrobe and don't put them on as we don't want to put a heavy jacket over the and yet are cold with our arms bare  My aim is to show that a pretty short sleeved jacket will fill the gap.

A design similar to this makes even my sleeveless dresses wearable when the air is chillier than it should be for Summer. It is pretty and warm and yet light enough to look Summery. This pattern is the Short n' Sweet by Angie Best which can be found in the Stitch and Bitch The Happy Hooker book.

As you can see from the back view my version is more of a Long n' Sweet. That is the beauty of making something yourself. It can be adapted to suit your figure type. As I am plus sized then I like my jackets to cover my hips as I think that the longer line is slimming.

The yarn that I used is James C Brett Cotton On   which comes in such a variety of colours that I was spoiled for choice. The reason that I chose this colour was simply because I had bought some new dresses that had splashes of this colour in them. I am so pleased with the way that this yarn has worked up. It is a cotton mix so it has the properties of the cotton mixed with the lightness of an acrylic. At £1.85 a ball this jacket cost me £11.10p to make. It would have cost me a ball less if I had made my sleeves just an inch shorter which is very good considering that I am plus sized. An average sized lady making her jacket shorter and smaller could make it for £8 - £9 at the most.

This is a close up of the stitch. Despite looking complicated it is quite an easy stitch to follow. I like the way that the jacket is worked top down all in one after the armholes. As the sleeves are crocheted downwards too there is hardly any sewing up, except for the yarn tails, which is my kind of crochet.

 Another reason why I had to dip int my 6th ball was that I added an extra edging around that wasn't on the pattern. I tried it on and although it is meant to be an edge to edge  jacket I felt that it was looking a bit too far apart so I added a couple of rows if a shell edging around it to give me an extra inch on either side. Now I can fasten it with a fancy button or a brooch if I want to.

As the weather in the UK has been so dismal this Summer I think that I am going to make more of these little jackets in different patterns. I don't know about you but I am so sick of wearing my dowdy winter type clothes instead of pretty Summer dresses. Instead of freezing this Summer make yourselves some boleros, jackets, stoles  or shawls in pretty colours and get those dresses out of the wardrobe and get them worn. If you are not a bright colour loving person, like me, then there are some lovely shades in the neutral or paler colours that will fit into your wardrobe colours a treat.

Happy crocheting.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Short n' Sweet

No I am not referring to myself with the title but the garment that I have started with the lovely to work with James C Brett Cotton On. I am supposed to be participating in the Abakhan monthly challenge but have been a bit busy so I didn't manage to do one for June. I have changed my June challenge into a July one.

As I mentioned before the yarn is a 50/50 mix of cotton and acrylic and is so soft to work with unlike some yarns that split as I am crocheting. As it is a mix it has 158 yds to every 50 gram ball which at £1.85 ball makes it a good quality but also good value yarn. It comes in lots of colours. I have trouble deciding which one to choose as there were so many. Click on the link and see which one you would choose.

Anyway enough of my gabble this is what I am making

 Short n Sweet by Angela Best

The pattern comes from this book. If you haven't got this book in your library then all I can say is Why Not?  It isn't just a tuition book it comes with lots of very wearable patterns. If you don't believe me than just look on Ravelry and see how many projects have been made by members from this book.

At the moment mine looks like this. As you can see mine is more Long n' Sweet as being of a more rotund figure I prefer my clothes to be that bit longer in the hope of disguising my overly curvaceous body. OK rotund is the real word I should be using but I prefer curvaceous!

The colour is showing off the pattern beautifully. Once it is finished and has sleeves added it should look like this.

Well better than this actually. This was made about 3 yrs ago in acrylic and has been washed and worn very frequently which is why I decided to make another one.

This is a pattern that I bought from EBay.I think that they are so sweet. I am going to make some once I get some lavender or other small potpourri to fill the centre fabric hearts in the middle of the crochet.

I have almost finished this cushion cover. It looks a bit out of shape at the moment as it is not displayed with the cushion inside it as it still needs some presstuds sewing on to close the top and yet still make it easy to remove for washing. It is a much smaller size than the granny square cushion. I call this a boudoir cushion. The cream yarn that I used is from the same bundle of yarn that I used to make the granny square cushion. Six colours were bought in the Sale at Abakhan. I shared the bags of 5 x 100 gram balls of each colour with my friend Sue (The Enabler) . I still have lots left to make other things with.

I think that I mentioned before that I have been revamping my wardrobe with the aid of EBay. I hate shopping and as I can't walk far I hate it even more now so online shopping is the way forward for me. Since I bought this and the other clothes I have found out that I may be going to the Greek Islands for a week in September. It's only a maybe at the moment as it is for a wedding blessing of two old friends who are in Skiathos ( think Mamma Mia). He wants his Mum to be there and his Dad doesn't want to travel so I may be accompanying his Mum who I have known for 40 yrs to his blessing. Nothing is settled but at least I have some new clothes (and shoes) ready if I go. All I need now is a nice lightweight suitcase with wheels but I am sure that someone in my family has one that I can borrow.

I took these two photos last night as I was getting ready to go to my elder step granddaughter's engagement party. When I looked at them this morning I realised that I took them before I put my party top on. I wore an elbow length red top but as the neckline is very low I had put this red vest top underneath it to cover my modesty and my bra. I had a great night out. It was lovely to see my family all in one place and my lovely great granddaughters who were dancing about in their party dresses. I think that I am getting old though as they had a live rock band which were very good but extremely loud. Conversation was impossible when they were playing. When I got home last night my ears were ringing and a bit sore. Thankfully they have now recovered.

Sorry about the week's delay in posting but I haven't really been doing a lot of crochet this week as I am still in the sorting out mode. Unfortunately it takes me such a long time to do things these days that what should be a day's worth of work now takes me a week thanks to this stupid back pain. I have to do a little bit and then sit down for a while. It's very frustrating when I think of how I used to be a mere 10 yrs ago. Then I worked a full time and a part time job and still managed to keep the house clean and tidy. Maybe that's the reason I am like I am now. I wore myself out when I was younger as I have always been such a hard worker. That is why I find it hard to accept my limitations these days. At least I can still crochet and get around and about so I should just stop whinging and get on with things!

Thanks to everyone for your lovely comments. I do appreciate them so much.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Rose & Lee Vintage Living

Today I spent a very pleasant afternoon at Rose & Lee Vintage Living  showroom. She was holding a vintage and craft fair day. I have taken lots of photos as most of my blog friends would not be able to join me for afternoon tea and cakes and I didn't want you to miss out on the experience.

Aren't these things gorgeous. I call this style shabby chic but I am not sure if this is how Fiona from Rose & Lee would describe it. I would love to have a dresser like this in my dining room but then I would have to change everything in the house to match it.

I don't know if you can see the bed properly but it is huge. Lovely and ornate. I would have loved to try it out but I didn't want to wrinkle the bedspread. I love the ornate wardrobe. Oh to have a house big enough to house things like this. Maralyn is having a cosy chat with Kate at the end of the afternoon.

Somewhere in this photo is a hand sewing machine. I would love to have one of those but as I own a vintage treadle machine I cannot justify have another machine. Robert is taking a well deserved rest after making his wife Maralyn (One Vintage Lady), his sister in law and myself cups of tea and coffee all afternoon and butlering the cakes to me whilst I sat on one of the comfy vintage chairs and crocheted.

More gorgeous drawers and cabinets. Lovely shabby chic to grace a bedroom or lounge.

This is the sewing machine that I would have loved to take home with me.

Vintage clothes for sale.

More vintage clothing. These are part of the stall showcasing goods from 1 Vintage Lady  Maralyn and Robert/ The link will take you to Facebook if you want to contact about anything that you see on the rail or in this next photo.

They go to lots of vintage fairs so if you contact them they may do one in your area if you live in the North of England. Maralyn specialises in selling china and offers a matching service if you have broken a piece of your favourite tea service. They also sell vintage jewelry which I don't think that you can see in this photo.

The things for sale in this corner come from Deer Vintage Clothing. There is a some vintage jewelry on the table.

Vintage mirrors for sale from Rose & Lee.

Some pictures for sale and another one of many larger mirrors that are dotted around the showroom.

Fiona ( of Rose & Lee) along with Kate modelling two of the vintage style dresses that can be bought through the showroom.

Fiona modelling another style of the vintage style dresses.

I hope that you like sharing these photos with me. If you could not get there in person then this is the next best thing. Everything that you can see in the photos is for sale so contact Fiona in the website link in my first paragraph of on their Facebook page Rose & Lee Vintage Living. What I didn't show was the gorgeous hand made candles that were dotted all around the showroom. The are so beautiful.

If you are interested in the china, vintage clothes and jewelry then contact 1 Vintage Lady on Facebook by following this link.

I didn't exhibit at the fair although I did take a bag of crochet with me including this huge granny square cushion that I finished off last night. I can make these in different colours and of a more normal size. This one is 24" v 24" and is only over a cheaper quality cushion pad that isn't washable. If they were made to order then the price would reflect a better quality pad that would be covered with fabric that would show through the crochet fabric. I would make the covers detachable for easy washing.

 I finished off my tiny tea cosy. Whilst this one is for sale I won't be making any more as Knitting hurts my shoulders and I knit very sparingly nowadays. I have got some crochet tea cosy patterns and also some different crochet cushion covers that I am going to make.

Today was a nice sunny day and I was able to wear one of my Summer dresses for a change.

Hope that you all have a good weekend .

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Yarns From Abakhan

As you know I use various places to buy my yarn from. Today I want to show you the yarns that I got from Abakhan  As you know from my post a couple of months ago I accepted a challenge from Abakhan turn £15 worth of my choice of yarn into anything that I wanted. I have been very lax and didn't manage to make the June challenge as I was finishing off crochet dresses, bags and jackets for my friend's holiday. I will have to make June's challenge into my July challenge instead. If you missed my last challenge for Abakhan then just browse hack in the blog a couple of months.

Thanks to all my followers. I am so glad that I am not chatting to myself and that you seem to be enjoying my rambling little chats. Your comments are so lovely. Here is today's chat.

This is a close up of the gorgeously soft James C Brett Cotton On  that I am going to use for my July project. It comes in many colours as you can see if you click on the highlighted link above which will take you to the relelvant page. .

This is a close up of the yarn that my friend Sue (aka the Enabler) bought from the Abakhan store in Bolton. I got a phone call a couple of months ago saying that she was in Abakhan and they had these bargain packs of 500 grams in various colours and did I want to share the packs with her. I may not get out much but I still can spend money Ha ha!

Abakhan may not have these bargain packs now but they always have some great Sale offers if you look on their web page or are lucky enough to have a store local to where you live in the UK.  If they don't have the colours that you want in the Sale then they do have very reasonable priced acrylic DK similar to these shades.

I added a couple of colours that I had in stash. As you can see I am very influenced by Attic 24 in the colours that I am using.

I do hope that this tea cosy doesn't prove to be a seller. Pretty as it is I am not a knitter these days and this pattern is driving me nuts with all the threading at the back of the colours. Give me a crochet hook any day.

My bargain bamboo hooks from China. I am not faithful to any one kind of hook. I choose the ones that run the smoothest with whichever yarn I am using. Some days the metal hooks work better, some the acrylic hooks, and some the bamboo. I have lots of hooks but I need them as I tend to lose them a lot. I can lose a hook without ever leaving the house! The same fairy that took my cushion patterns and hid them also hides my crochet hooks. Sewing up needles also vanish without trace.

Some things turn up again eventually but I get so sick of wasting valuable crochet time searching for a lost hook that now I always have supplies of every size in stash.

Thank you to all of my new viewers. When I started this blog a few years ago I did it for myself as an online account of what I was doing or making on a certain day. I never really imagined that other people would actually read it. I love reading crochet blogs. I have lots of favourites and can spend literally hours catching up on peoples news and projects. I get lost for hours on You Tube.

One new friend that I have met through the videos and Facebook is Haylees hats who has You tube videos as Fresh off the hook Haylees hats   I love the You Tube videos of Fresh off the Hook family and the Cast Off Crew but such a lot of the members are from the US and mention yarns that we can't get in the UK so it's nice to watch someone from the UK and see which yarns they use.

I must settle down to an afternoon and evening of crochet otherwise I will have nothing relating to this fair finished in time for Saturday. I have plenty of other stuff to take but I wanted something more household for this one.

Thanks for watching. By the way the red crochet top that I am wearing on the video is a bought one from years ago. I was food shopping in Asda (Walmart) and saw it and just fell in love with it. At the time I was in a crochet slump so there was no way at that time I could have attempted anything similar.

Have a great crochet day X

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Mystery Packets from Kemps

Today I am showing you the contents of my mystery packages from Kemps online wool stpre..They had bargain 'buy unseen' packs of wool where you have no idea what is in the packs until they arrive. The whole lot that I show cost me £33.75 including the postage. They are still on offer if you are interested but you would probably get a different lot of colours than I got.

First I will show you the green cardigan for myself that I was crocheting in my last video. A bit small for me but I am sure that it will drop when it is washed as it is quite heavy. .

I added gold metallic buttons as I didn't have anything in my button stash this shade of green.

What I was trying to show to you before I got cut off ( I must learn to time myself better) was a tiny packet of gold beads that cost me £1.75 from China. The postman woke me up yesterday at 7am for me to sign for them! They are not real gold honestly so why send them recorded delivery?

The Vintage craft fair that I mentioned on the video is Vintage fair at Rose & Lee . I am looking forward to seeing her showroom for the first time. I have been to fairs before that Fiona organised but they were in Prestwich Longfield suite.

I have now given up looking for the lost crochet patterns otherwise I will not have any time to make anything before Saturday!

I hope that you are having more a  productive day than I am. Thanks to everyone for your  lovely supportive comments. I was expecting a pattern to be delivered by the postman but so far there is no sign of him unless I have missed him going past.