Sunday, 27 May 2012

The Sun Is Out, So Crocheting Takes Second Place

The weather here is glorious for a change so I have been doing other things except my crochet. I am still working on the gold lurex dress for my friend Julie but progress is slower than normal.

I am doing the skirt in the round, the lurex is fine and the hook is a 3mm. Not making excuses here just saying that I work slower on the finer hooks. One reason why I shy away from making crochet mats that use fine cottons and minuscule hooks. It's not that i can't do it, I just lack the patience and  my fingers are not what they were for gripping tiny hooks to get an even tension.

Another reason for my crochet slowing down is my lovely Buster is here for the weekend. My son and daughter in law have gone away for the weekend and Buster gets too hot in the car. They like to go walking with the other two dogs and Buster can't keep up with the young ones especially on a very hot day. I keep forgetting that he is about 13 yrs old now as some  days he is as playful as a puppy. We are not sure of his age as he was a rescue dog so the vet gave us a guesstimate of his age.

He woke me up with the birds to go into the garden for a wee and is now happily sleeping on the sofa whilst I am wide awake. I don't mind though as it is such a lovely day.

Buster panting yesterday. This photo makes his tongue look impossibly long. I had the ceiling fan on for him and he had an ice cream. He is so cute. As soon as he hears the ice cream van's chimes in the distance he won't be budged from the chair by the window and he barks like mad when he gets close. My son tells me off for giving him anything that isn't his dog food but how can I resist him when he pushes past me out of the f ront door and waits with the kids in the line up at the van for his ice cream cornet.

He had a little friend for some of yesterday. Poppy from next door came through the hedge to visit us.

She will not sit still a minute when I am taking her photo. Just when you get her posed she moves her head. I must have taken a dozen photos of the back of her head yesterday.

This was the best photo that I could get of her. Like Buster she is getting old now but still lively enough when treats are mentioned. She will break into a gallop if she thinks that there is a chance of a treat. Poppy is not in the least bit scared of Buster but Buddy didn't come through the hedge today as I think Buster scares him a bit. They don't fight or anything but Buster does tend to growl at him.

It's another gorgeous day so I think that the garden is calling me. Shower, shorts and breakfast in the garden is the order of the day.

Enjoy your Sunday.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Dazzling Knits Book

I got a new book in the post today from Amazon. A knitting book. Yes I know that it's a rare event for me to buy a knitting book unless there is something in it that I really like. I love bright bold colours and the designs in this book set my imagination working. I am already wondering how I can covert them to crochet as I only knit small items these days because I knit on a long pair of needles and one of them has to sit under my right armpit.

This method is OK for lighter items but for an adult sized garment it makes my shoulders and neck ache. I have tried knitting 'free' or using circular needles but it is so slow when I do this plus my tension is all loose and uneven.

You will see from the front cover why my eyes were immediately drawn to this book. This is my idea of a nice jacket.

This is the back view of the same jacket. I love the changes in style between the vertical stripes and the pointed squares at the bottom.

This is a change from the usual square pattern look of the crochet but I think I could adapt this waistcoat style into crochet with a bit of thought,

Once I  have mastered the squared look then this would be the next progression as I love the darker jewel shades as well as the bold and bright.

Diagrams like these set my mind thinking along the crochet lines. Whether I can convert this design into crochet remains to be seen.

What lovely shades of blues and green for this winter cardigan.

I can imagine my friend Babukatorium taking this design and taking ideas from it to make one of her magnificent crochet items.

She uses the brightest of colours to make designs such as these that were featured in an article about her designs in the latest Vogue Crochet book.

Back to the knitting book and these lovely pastel shades in this waistcoat. It still has the mauve and purple shades that I love so much.

This one is more circular in it's design.. Once again lovely jewel colours.

This one reminds me of a stained glass window.

Another chart to browse. I love the insertion of the black in between the colours.

What an inspiring colour chart.

Another inspiring chart. These two charts quite remind me of harlequins with their shapes and colours.

This is the last picture from this book that I am going to show. I have only given the book a quick browse but it looks like a good read to inspire me. I keep books like this on my bedside table. Other people read novels I read craft books and magazines.

Julie's dress now has a front and back bodice and I am starting to crochet down wards for the skirt. The neckline won't be quite as low when it is finished as it will have a ruffled neck edging around it. Julie went out with her family yesterday to the park and wore the grey shimmery top that I made for her.

As she is so tiny it is almost long enough to be a dress on her. She loves it and that is  all that matters. I like it when people like the things that I make for them.

This is one of my eBay pattern bids that arrived today. I like the long line cardigan but I wouldn't wear the pink top unless it was for the beach,

More granny squares. At least these are in one colour and so there won't be dozens of tails to stitch in.

Today has been hot but not quite as sunny. The weather forecast is for it to be nice and sunny tomorrow. I haven't been sitting out in it as I tend to burn if I sit directly in it. I am lucky enough to 'weather' as my Mother used to call it just be being around in it rather than sitting out in it. I usually sit more in the shade in the later afternoons or the early mornings and still manage to get a light tan.

I still haven't managed to get to the knitting machine yet. Every day I think that I will and then something crops up that distracts me. I won't machine knit in the evenings for fear that the noise will upset the neighbours and anyway my TV set is in the front room and my knitting machine is in the dining room. The TV in the dining room isn't working at the moment. I think that maybe the aerial broke in the last high winds or it may be that the TV that has broken. Either way it's not high on my list of priorities to buy or fix at the moment. As long as I have one working TV then I am happy. I like to watch it in the evenings when I am crocheting.

Happy crafting.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

What a Difference a Model Makes

A couple of weeks ago I was chatting to my friend Claire of Eliza M Vintage Sewing   and she mentioned that a good friend of hers was doing a photo shoot for her and would I mind if she had a rummage through my garments that I have for sale.

Gillian Broome chose this one to feature on one of her photos.

Gillian Broome is a stylist and she has used my gold knitted top for this photo shoot. What a difference a live model makes to my top The models are from Boss model agency and the photographer is Dale Broome, Gillian's brother. A talented brother and sister combo!

This is how my top looked on a professional photo shoot. What a difference. How I wish that i could afford the services of a stylist. models and a photographer to display the rest of the garments that I have for sale. I bet that my crocheting would fly off the  hook and into someones on line basket. it would help though if I had a proper web page instead of just my Etsy  page Urban Gypsy Crochet.

I am still crocheting on the gold lurex thread. The thread is quite fine and the hook is a 3mm so I am not exactly racing along. The dress is started from the waist line upwards and I am up to the armholes on the back.

A lovely summers day here and I am actually wearing a sleeveless top and a summer skirt. I do hope that the weather lasts longer than the few days that are forecast.

Abakhan Challenge - Five, Six and Seven

I have completed my first challenge from Abakhan . I managed to make 7 items from the 7 x 100 gram balls of King Cole Big Value DK    . All that I have left now are these small balls.

The pink, lilac and green will be used make crochet flowers and leaves for another project so I could say that I will have made 9 items before the yarn is fully used up.

I made this colourful summer top and beanie from the part balls left over from my other projects. I would have liked to make the bottom half with pink, lilac and cream instead of using the yellow but as you can see from the first photo that I had only yards left so I settled for just a cream top part and a cream flower on the beanie.

As usual I added little flowers but this time they are embroidered, which is not my best skill as you can see from the close up photo. I just felt that crochet flowers would have been too chunky for this small baby top.

This is the last item made from the tiny balls that were left over. A rainbow hat for a baby girl complete, of course, with my usual crochet flower trim.

I have enjoyed turning the 7 balls into all of these.

If you want a baby in your family to wear something different than the usual high street chain stores, and not spend a fortune on clothes from the designer stores, then grab a crochet hook ( or a pair of knitting needles) , use your imagination (or a pattern) to either make colourful items such as these or choose pastel shades to make something similar but in more subtle tones. If you don't want to stripe or change colours then choose something from the random baby shades at Abakhan .  They may cost you a little more to buy but would still make economical gifts for a baby.

Today has been a lovely sunny day but instead of lazing in my back garden the sun made me decide to change the bed linen and wash everything in sight. There is nothing nicer than a washing line of clothes and bedding drying in the sunshine.

I also got some good news today. The Disability Living have extended my allowance for another 2 years. That is a weight off my mind as I do need the extra money to pay for taxi fares for my hospital visits and occasionally visiting friends or going to my knit club at the Kings Arms in Salford.  Mondays are the days when I wish that I still had transport to get to the Kings Arms. Maybe one day I will win the lottery or Ernie will remember that I have premium bonds and I can buy a little car.

Have a lovely evening. I hope that tomorrow is as sunny as today. Maybe I will get time to crochet outdoors now that I have finished the washing. I have crocheted a few rows in the gold lurex thread for the dress that I am making for a friend.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Abakhan Challenge Part Three and Four

I am still making things from my original 7 balls of King Cole Big Value DK    that I requested when I took up the challenge from Abakhan   to see what I could make with £15 worth of yarn. In these austere times I chose to show that it doesn't have to be expensive to crochet or knit. I also wanted to show that with a bit of colour and imagination you could create designs that would be more personal than any items bought on the high street.

So far I have made a ripple moses basket or pram cover and a sweater made from mutli coloured granny squares. As I still had lots left on the balls I made this little jacket next.

I chose just 3 shades to make this small baby jacket. The colours remind me of Springtime in my garden. Green leaves, yellow daffodils and the purple of the iris. I used wooden buttons to complete this jacket.

As I still had wool left over I decided to make another small baby jacket.

This is to show how a simple crochet baby jacket can be transformed with the use of colour and a few crochet flowers.

Simple little flowers make a plain jacket so individual. If it is for a boy then choose a motif  of a cat, teddy bear or a sailboat and leave off the shell edging and make a plain one.

After all of this I still have part balls left over. This yarn is truly elastic. I am thinking of ways to use up the last of these balls to try to make 5 or more items from the original 7 balls.

I want to choose a different theme for my next challenge. These posts have all been about frugality and how to crochet (or knit) on a budget. Maybe my next challenge will be about using luxury yarns wisely or using cotton for the summer now that the weather is slightly improving. Today the sun is shining although I don't find it warm enough for a T shirt. Perhaps the answer is a lighter weight sweater that doesn't look so wintery or a nice lacy shawl to keep my shoulders warm when the sun goes in. As per usual my mind is always way ahead of my fingers when planning my next projects.

Happy Monday to everyone. I hope that my posts encourage you to pick up your hook ( or your knitting needles) decide on a project and pay a visit to your local wool shop or shop online at Abakhan

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Abakhan Challenge - Part Two

If you have been following my posts then you will understand the challenge from Abakhan that I accepted.  I still had plenty of the original yarn left from the ripple baby blanket so I browsed in the same book for another project.

I decided on this one

I had one guess in the comments that was almost right. June said a cardigan. Very close it is a sweater. I decided to use the part balls left over from the baby blanket and so made this from the same original 7 balls of King Cole DK  but for this project I decided to leave the red out of the mix to make the sweater more pastel shaded.

I think that this has made a lovely sweater for a little girl. I would imagine that it would fit up to 2 yrs old.

I did change the neckline from the method on the pattern. I decided that it looked rather large and a bit off the shoulder. I have also left off the picot edging at the neckline and the bottom edge. I still have amounts of the yarn left so I have started this  next project. So far I have made two very different individual items from the original £15 worth of yarn and I still have left over oddments.

I must be mad letting myself in for more ends to darn in. I do love stripes and granny squares but oh the hundreds of ends to sew in. I have tried crocheting over the ends as I work but I still end up with little ends sticking out on the rights side.

The postman brought me this book that I had ordered from Amazon. I love granny squares despite all the ends to sew in but my repertoire doesn't run to many designs of granny squares so I decided to get more ideas for the future. Some of these squares are in single colours so that would be a break from multi coloured ones.

I also bought these patterns from eBay and Etsy. I have a love of vintage patterns and so does my friend. When I have finished my first challenge for Abakhan I am going to start a crochet dress for my friend Julie for her holidays in a gold thread.

Some more patterns. I love the child's bag in all the bright colours with bird and flower motifs. This is definitely on my 'to do' list. I also need to make some everyday sweaters for myself. Summer is such a long time arriving that my sweaters are starting to look shabby. I usually wait until the Autumn but I doubt if there will be much need for Summer tops this year. I have a lot of machine cones so I should really fire up the knitting machine to quickly make myself some plain sweaters. Machine knit sweaters are soft of half way between thick winter sweaters and lightweight summer tops.

Back to the stripes of my third project. Hopefully all will be revealed by my next blog. The red will be included in the colours of this to eke out the last yards of the oddments. I could use some other oddments but I want to see how far the wool will go.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Abakhan Challenge - Part One

I am calling this Part One of the Abakhan Challenge. If you have been following my blog then you will know that I accepted the challenge to see what I could make with £15 of anything of my choice. My choice was 7 balls of King Cole Bonus DK . This is what I made.

 A baby blanket in a ripple or wave stitch using shades from my choice. My taste runs to the bold and the colourful. I love a bit of colour in my life.

This photo gives a  better idea of the size of the blanket that I made. Useful for the moses basket or the car seat. I could  have made it larger to fit a full sized cot and I would still have enough wool to do that as my choice comes in 100 gram balls

This close up photo is nearest to the colours of the blanket as I see them. It wouldn't be me if there wasn't a crochet flower on it somewhere. If I was making this blanket for a boy then I would omit the pink and the flower. If my choice of colours isn't your idea of what a baby blanket should look like then there is a wide selection of pastel shades to choose from if you look on the Abakhan page. For a baby boy then you could use shades of pale blue, lemon. white, and pale green. For a baby girl then shades of pinks and lemon mixed with cream or white would make a delicately coloured blanket.

What to make with the rest of the yarn? I am never happy until I have used up as much of the yarn as I can. There is enough in the part balls to make something else. I used six shades of the same yarn for the blanket as though technically I could have used oddments to make it I do prefer shades of the same yarn for texture and washing purposes. The blanket wouldn't stay in shape if I mixed wool in with acrylic and cotton as they all wash differently. I like the same kind of yarn, whenever possible, if I am making something with different colours. If I can't keep to the same brand then at least I try to match up the thickness and the material.

I am going to keep you in suspense as to what I am making with the rest of the yarn. I will give you a  hint though.

For this project I am not using the red as I want a more delicate colour effect.

Granny squares. I will let you guess what I am making with them. The project is from the same book as the ripple blanket. I will reveal more in my next post. One clue - it's not another blanket.

I hope that your weather is better than here. It's a bit dull and has been raining. The only excitement of the day has been that the recycling bins got emptied. I told you that I live a quiet life. Today I will be working more on the granny squares and then hopefully by my next post I will have something to show you.

Happy Crafting. Love to you all.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Ripple Pram Blanket

As I mentioned in an earlier post I accepted a challenge from Abakhan to use £15 worth of yarn and turn it into something crocheted or knitted. I chose these colours as not only do I like bright colours I had something in mind to make from them.

I had bought this book a couple of weeks ago and decided to make this blanket from it.

I chose this blanket as it is suitable for crocheters of all levels and is something that a beginner can tackle without too much of a struggle. I can crochet most things and could have chosen an elaborate pattern which may have been admired but not something that every reader could look at and think 'I can make that'

I hope that you can follow from this swatch how I made this ripple or wave pattern. I believe this stitch is called the lazy wave as it is less undulating than the chevron stitch. I have got 3 UK trebles in between  alternating 3 trebles in one stitch to form the peak of the wave and decreasing 3 trebles together to form the dip in the waves. If you can't understand my description there are a few great tutorials on You Tube. I have chosen this one as it follows the version I am using except it has more trebles in between the ups and the downs.

Crochet Crowd Lazy Waves stitch

If you would like a more pronounced wave or ripple stitch than this then follow the Crochet Geek's tutorial

Crochet Geek Chevron Stitch  which has a more pronounced zig zag effect.

I decided not to follow a regimented stripe pattern but make the colours more random. I think that I am about half way through the pram blanket now. I have decided not to put the pom poms at each corner for fear of loose strands getting into a baby's mouth.

Although I chose bright colours for my project there are plenty of other colours to choose from and many different yarns. I have used  King Cole Big Value DK  but I could have easily chose colours from Hayfield DK , If you prefer to use a cotton yarn then there are plenty to choose from in Abakhan   James C Brett Cotton On   is one and has some lovely pastel shades and James C Brett Merino  would make a luxurious blanket for a baby.

I am changing colours with every row so will have a lot of tails to sew in afterwards. If you don't want to do this then why not choose one of the random shades of James C Brett Marble DK  which will give you a gentle shaded effect without changing colours.

I will hopefully have part balls left over from this project and will be making something else with the oddments. If you are not a lover of bright colours, as I am, then remember the beauty of making your own blankets is that the colour choice is all yours. I love the fact that I can make something that is unique and individual. For me crochet is all about using your imagination to use colour in different ways. This pattern would look equally as nice done in the baby pastel shades using as few or as many colours as you wish. Crafting is all about choices and that is what makes it so much fun. The world would be a lesser place with a bit of individuality.

Happy crocheting. Enjoy the bit of sunshine that we have this weekend.