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.

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

Tips and hints for crochet

Last week I promised to return today with a couple of tips I learned in recent weeks while doing crochet work. They are two simple tips, but once learned and used, I may never go back to the old ways.

Many years ago I was shown how to crochet. I struggled for some time but the yarn was always slipping from my hands. Perhaps having crooked or bent fingers was to blame. Holding the needle in my right hand and the thread in the left one, became an impossible task, so I almost gave up.

Stubborn Annie – read me – took off to a quiet corner with my yarn and a crochet needle, determined to find a way round my problem. I did!

By holding the yarn as I did for knitting, I managed to produce a granny square. Bingo! I went out and bought a packet of wool. I think it had about ten balls of yarn in it. I was off and determined to make a dress. In those days shift dresses were all the rage and I had the figure of a matchstick, so that meant two long rectangles joined at the shoulders and down the side seams. Within the week I had a dress completed. It sat one inch above my knees.  I was thrilled and wore it to a dance. By the end of the evening, I had either danced a few inches off my legs or my dress had grown. It had. My dress had stretched about three inches while I danced! 😦

Stop laughing and concentrate. So to my tips.

All down the years I began a crochet project with a row of chain stitches and worked back along that line to begin my pattern. The base line was not always even, but I did my best. Now I have found a new way to do the base row.

This base row is a slight variation of treble crochet or for my Americans readers, it is a double crochet.

You begin with three chain.

With the yarn over the hook (YOH), go into the very first chain, YOH again and draw it through (three loops on the needle). This is where you make the variation: YOH and through that first chain only (three loops on the needle), YOH and pull through two loops, YOH and pull through two loops, which leaves one stitch on the needle.

That little variation gives you a a neat heart shaped loop at the top of your work. For the second stitch: YOH, and pick up both sides of that heart shaped stitch and work as before.

Repeat until the last stitch. For the last stitch  YOH, put needle through heart shape and YOH,and pull through, YOH and pull through that stitch again then YOH pull through two loops, YOH and pull through two loops. That gives the row a neat square corner.

This video should give you a better idea. I made it very late last night, so excuse the quality.

I also promised to show you how to join yarn with a fine knot and no tails to be woven into the completed item.

Again I made a video and it is self explanatory.

Any problems, please let me know in the comments.

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.