In the Pink

Way back in the annals of time… well it feels like that, even though it was only October 2012. I featured this little number.

Caplet experiment - A disaster!

Caplet experiment – A disaster!

It was an experiment.

The idea was good.

Now I know a bad workman/woman blames their tools, but this time the yarn was atrocious. It was only as I was working that I discovered it was a ball made of bits of yarn!  I didn’t bring it back to the shop, since I bought it from a bargain lot and had it in my yarn stash for a long time. I decided to use it up and see if I could manage a garment with it.

The yarn was too thick and almost impossible to hide the ends no matter how I tried to work them in. Nevertheless, I managed to make the garment above. It was a disaster. So I binned it!

In July, the same year, I featured another idea I worked from my head.

Knitted tunic in the round

Knitted tunic in the round

This time the knitted tunic was finished, but not the success I hoped it to be. The yarn and the stitch were not so compatible. My tunic grew dropped by the hour. Before it grew long enough to trip me up, I cast it aside. Eventually, I decided to unpick the garment and re-use the yarn.

Thus the reflection you saw in my back door the other day.



With the positive reaction to the pink cardie, I decided to focus on it in this post.

How better to do that, than with a video.

This video lasts about 15 minutes, I hope you find it helpful.


The doorbell rang

The doorbell rang,
I didn’t hear it
I was not near it,
Last thing on my mind.

In the kitchen,
Music blaring,
Just not caring
food preparing, lunch was on the ring

Sitting eating
Cold weather meating
Extra treating
Enough to warm and make me sing

Through the mail box
Dropped a note,
You missed delivery
Silly goat!

Wrap up warmly
Start your journey
Step out spritely
Don’t forget to bring that note!

Reach post office produce ID
Hocus Pocus, dear girl focus
Collect a parcel,
Addressed to me.

Skipping fast
precious parcel grasp
Under my oxter
A mind full of wonder

Finally home
the tape was cut
box ends open
packing paper removed.


Here on the floor
Glories galore
Texture and colourful treasures
A surprise gift for months of pleasure

Glorious yarn gift.

Glorious yarn gift.

A box filled with a selection of yarn, gifted to me all the way from California.

Thank you Brighid, from the bottom of my heart and already twitching fingers!

Now let the crafting party begin!

Blue Jumper

You have heard about and seen this jumper over the past few weeks. I loved the stitch when I saw it. My sister was making an afghan using the stitch, when I was in Dublin, in July. Although I had a couple of cardigan/jackets unfinished, they were for later in the season when winter winds invade us.

Blue jumper_frontMy body goes cold in mid August every year. I see people all around me in sleeveless tops or short sleeved t-shirts and they make me shiver, so I need to move to a warmer layer of clothing. It gave me the opportunity to use the couple of tips I shared with you last week and to try this pattern. The body and the sleeves were started in the same way. The actual stitch pattern is over two rows and works up pretty fast.

back view of blue jumper

back view of blue jumper

My sister gave a copy of her original jumper pattern where she found the stitch. It was the stitch I wanted and not the shape. It was short, boxy, boaty and with a wide stand-up neckline. Not me at all. So I made my own shape.

neckline of blue jumper

neckline of blue jumper

The neckline was an experiment. I like the shape – minus the odd bump. Well, there is one thing sure, Buffy finds it comfortable enough to rest her head on my arm.

Time for a cuddle

Time for a cuddle

Finishing off

Knitting & crochet quote found on Facebook

Knitting & crochet quote found on Facebook

When working on any form of craft work, I normally concentrate on one project at a time. I may well be planning the next one in my head as I finish off the mundane and tedious elements of the task in hand. In the past year or two I have noticed a difference. At one stage there were three projects on the go at one time.

Up until yesterday I had three crochet projects unfinished. Running out of yarn is not to be recommended!

Basket weave project

Basket weave project

This basket weave jacket was working well but it was a yarn guzzler. I had the back & two fronts complete, but it looked like I would run out of yarn before I had the second sleeve, never mind the front border and collar completed. I found this aran wool in Dublin last year, when out with my sister. She is an avid knitter, but does crochet too.

Sister is sensible. She sticks to a pattern. I seldom do. I like to add my own touch to a garment. Most of the time it works.

My sister offered to consult her outlet for the yarn, to see if it was still in stock. It was, but a different dye number. I decided (long distance) to let her get it for me and hold it until I was next in Dublin. I planned to use it for the two sleeves and the front band and collar using a different stitch. If there was a slight difference, it would look intentional.

A couple of falls resulting in very painful ribs last autumn, put paid to my travel plans for a few months.

In the meantime, I decided to use some raspberry coloured Aran wool called lipstick, that I had in my wool stash for over a year, to make a long cardigan/jacket. I had 10 X 100g balls, more than enough, says I to myself over confidently! Ha Ha!

Waffle stitch Cardigan

Waffle stitch Cardigan

Again, I used a yarn guzzling stitch. This time waffle stitch. I finished the back, two fronts, two sleeves and two front border/collar sections. I used every last inch! I had no Lipstick yarn to sew the pieces together!

Waffle stitch cardigan- back

Waffle stitch cardigan- back

Unfortunately the shop where I had bought the yarn had gone out of business. Thankfully there was a website address on the ball-band so I was able to find stockists in Northern Ireland. Four or five phone calls and I found it. Well almost!

Collar back detail.

Collar back detail.

The colour lipstick was available in either double knitting, or chunky varieties, but not Aran. Since it was only to stitch the garment together with the stitches unseen on the outside, I went along with the double knitting.

Sleeve detail

closer look at the front

It worked, so I decided to use the remainder of the 100g ball to make a belt. That is what you saw yesterday.

Belt in waffle stitch

Belt in waffle stitch

Sailing close to the wind… the photo above shows how little yarn I have left at the end of the project!

sleeve detail

sleeve detail

I learned a couple of new tricks with this project.

  1. A new way to join the yarn leaving no unsightly tails to be worked into the finished garment.
  2. A new way – for me – to work the base line instead of starting with a long chain.

If you would like me to share them with you, let me know in the comments, and I will do so next week.

Click on any of the photos to enlarge them for greater detail.

A basket case

Over at Postcard from Nantucket a couple of days a go, kjwinston told us about a visit to Nantucket Lightship Basket Museum

It brought back memories of my one and only attempt at basket weaving. It involved long strands of cane, buckets of water, old towels and newspapers on the floor to catch the drips. In other words, my hands were wet all the time we worked. The long strands of basket cane needed to be soaked to make them pliable, otherwise they would crack and not work.

Wet hands are not good for my bad circulation, they go cold and my fingers stiffen up. 😦 But, once started, the stubborn Annie in me would not let it get the better of me and I was determined to continue. Before you ask, wearing rubber gloves is no help, sure just walking past the freezer…. Brrr!, my hands go blue.

Our inspiration was based on a Gondola basket. Anyone remember them?

gondola basket

gondola basket

We just made the base shape with the curved handle and made a fabric bag to fill the space. I used a Bawneen tweed (think winter white) and worked a Celtic pattern on each side. I lined the bag in emerald green taffeta. The pattern was worked in a different colour way on each side. The upper edges had a channel of elastic and the snap fastener was added for closure.

I searched through all the old albums of photographs (not scanned on to disc) but only one rather blurry photo survives. The basket was worn into the ground long ago.

Rather blurred image of my basket with Celtic pattern detail

Rather blurred image of my basket with Celtic pattern detail

Detail is not clear in the photo, but it will give you the idea!

Close up of blurry basket!

Close up of blurry basket!

Musically needling my yarn

On Saturday afternoon I read about WWKIP – World Wide Knit in Public Day. We were encouraged to hold events not alone on the day but throughout the whole week 8th to 16th of June.

I did go out on Saturday, bringing my wool and needles. I had my crochet and not knitting, but that was allowed. I did not plan where I was going. I have no idea what I expected, but my walk provided no inspiration for a location, so I headed home with my needles not seeing the light of day.

Sunday brought blue skies with 20°C sunshine and a determination to try again to air my yarn and needles for real this time. I had visions of sitting in dappled sunshine and working away.

I chose Clotworthy House/Antrim Castle grounds as there were now plenty of options for places to sit.

In the shade of a well dressed tree, perhaps

A Sun dressed tree to feast the eyes

A Sun dressed tree to feast the eyes

As I walked Through the Courtyard I came across this sign.

Music in the Garden with The Ulster Youth Jazz Orchestra

Music in the Garden with The Ulster Youth Jazz Orchestra

Bingo! I thought.

Ulster Youth Jazz Orchestra (UYJO)  would be playing in the parterre from 2pm for one hour.

People were beginning to gather and the seats were set out ready and waiting

People were beginning to gather and the seats were set out ready and waiting

So I had my walk and came back in time to find a seat, and enjoy the music as I tapped my feet and worked the fingers on my crochet.

Making the final checks as we settled down

Making the final checks as we settled down

No need for formal dress and bow-ties, it was a day to soak up some vitamin D.

“You were not knitting!” I hear you shout.

“Oh yes I was! Well, crocheting actually.”

Both crochet or knitting were allowed according to the website. I had a cardigan in progress and there is less chance of losing stitches when crocheting than with knitting while working out of doors. It was also in a striking shade of Raspberry and more lightly to catch attention, which was the whole point in the exercise: To draw attention to and encourage others to take up or return to the hobby.

Sharing my work and yarning!

Sharing my work and yarning!

It was easy to set the work on my knees as I applauded the young talent. Vocal soloist Ayesha Akkari, entertained us with several numbers including Knock on Wood and Everything.

Vocal soloist Ayesha Akkari Knocks on Wood

Vocal soloist Ayesha Akkari Knocks on Wood

As we listened and tapped our toes, I had the bright idea to speak to musical Director Ken Jordan and ask for a photo to prove I was there. So when the programme ended I walked forward and asked to speak for a few moments.

I Thanked them for their wonderful music and singing as well as the exercise for my tapping toes. I explained why I was playing with my needlework as I listened and said I would be going home to write a blog post about my adventure and linking it to WWKIP. I asked if they had a website or Facebook page to which I might add a link.

Then the crunch bit I dared to ask if I could have that photograph with them. I was even brazen enough to suggest a swap…

Musical Director Ken Jordan & Vocalist Ayesha Akkari
with Grannymar on Saxaphone.

Fair swap – My needlework for a Saxaphone! Do you think I will be allowed to join?

I love to see young talent encouraged and acknowledged. They are a fine group of young people, I wish them well with a life filled with music. May they continue to bring joy, by sharing their talents with the world around them for many a long year!

As they plan their futures I will enjoy listening to the CD they presented me with.

Ulster Youth Jazz Orchestra Twenty Twelve CD

Ulster Youth Jazz Orchestra
Twenty Twelve CD

Perhaps some of these young people will read this post, so may I ask my readers to do me a small favour as a sign of encouragement for them. I know where most of you hail from on this globe of ours, but the youngsters will have no idea. At the end of your comment can you please say where you are writing from. e.g: Pune, India or St Johns, Newfoundland, ( I know those two will appear).

Just as I reached the car park, I was stopped by a lovely couple. She wished to ask me about my ‘knitting’. “So that is what you were looking at all the time!” Her husband said.

She had been a knitter, very fond of traditional Aran patterns, in the past and I discovered she also dabbled in cross stitch and other aspects of Needlecraft too. Seeing me working away gave her the urge to begin all over again. She does have a gilet in mind to knit – a great idea if you dislike doing sleeves!

We spoke about wool and I was telling her about a little coffee chop with a section for wool and needles. Several small finished items along with the patterns are on display to encourage people to have a go. It turns out she knew the family that own the shop – the world gets smaller every day! I gave her my card and hope she picks up that phone some day soon. I would love to meet and natter about our ventures with Needlecrafts.

Photographing the Alphabet ~ H

H – Haberdashery:

: a dealer in men’s clothing and accessories
: a dealer in notions

In an earlier post back in 2010 on colour I discovered from a comment that Former President Harry S. Truman, before he was in politics, was a Haberdasher. In his case, it refers to a Men’s Clothing Expert.

Today I am concentrating on the second option ‘notions’ found in a shop that sells many of the small items listed below:

Beads, Bows, Buckles & Buttons.
Crochet Hooks
Embroidery Rings
Knitting Needles
Marking Pen & Measuring Tape
Needles for crochet, knitting and sewing
Pins & Pom Pom Makers
Safety Pins, Scissors, Stitch markers & Stitch rippers.
Tailor’s Chalk, Thimble, Threads & Toggles.

The photos shows some of the items that came quickly to hand from my collection. I probably have as many more if time allowed to go digging for them.

Many of the items have lived in my work boxes for many a long year. A few still have price labels with shop names of Anderson & Macauley, Wellworths and Woodsides All three are long gone to the great big superstore in the sky. 😦

CRAFTWORLD – formerly known as Leisureworld can be found at Queen Street, Belfast.

Craftwoman Fabrics in Carrickfergus would be my first port of call these days and I now see they are on Facebook. I bet I know one follower who will go a drooling over there today (virtually)!

Now I am off to catch up on the first of four episodes from the Great British Sewing Bee on BBC 2 TV.

The spools at the top right of this photo were inherited and are at least 40 years old.


The other day I was replacing a button on the waistband of a pair of jeans. They were not mine and the lack of a button was due to a lost battle with an expanding waistline. The strain on the waistband where the button should be weakens the fabric and sometimes causes a hole. To overcome these problems reach for the button box, a sewing needle with a large eye-hole, three matchsticks, sticky-tape and Dental Floss!

Replacing Buttons

Now if you have the original button your problem is halved, if not look for one that will neatly pass through the buttonhole. If a button slips easily through the buttonhole, then it is not large enough and will open every five minutes. If it needs force to go through then it is too big. Then pick a smaller flat button with the same number of holes as the larger one.

Next find a little masking tape or sticky-tape and place the three matches in a row and wrap them in the tape. For safety reasons used matches are best, we don’t need any burnt fingers! This match stack will be placed between the top button and the fabric to leave the threads long enough to form a shank. I made one of these about twenty years ago and keep it in the sewing box.

Stitching 1

Select the length of Dental Floss and thread it on to the needle. I double the thread and knot the end of it. Attach the thread to the fabric with a double stitch and then push it through the smaller button on the underside of the waistband. Place the large button on the top fabric and stitch through the fabric and the button. Make sure to slip the match stack in between the fabric and upper button.

Stitching 2

When you have stitched the buttons securely bring the needle up through the bottom button and fabric, remove the matchsticks and wind the thread around the threads between the fabric and top button to give extra strength and finally take the needle through to the back and finish off with a small double stitch.

Stitching 3

Now you only have one problem, how to conceal the ‘white’ thread in the centre of a dark button. Use your loaf Rollerball or ink pen to darken it.

My photos are a little blurred, but they will give you the idea. I used a scrap of material with light coloured buttons and contrasting tread for the sample. Hopefully I make a better job of matching my colours in the normal course of events.