What shall I bend your ear about today?

Well, I tried to stage the photo but I don’t have the eye – yet… maybe never… I’m sure some of the techniques can be learned so I will study magazine shots and see how they achieve that ‘look’. Anyway, it’s supposed to be showing off the crochet heart – a new and gorgeous addition to my crochet heart pattern hoard.  It’s  quick to make and has no complicated stitches to deal with and you can find the pattern by Nancy L Drew here and here on Attic24’s blog.  You may remember, I crocheted a little wooly sheep for Yarndale last year. The sale of the sheep was to raise money for hospice care for terminally ill children. This year the Yarndale exhibition in Skipton is raising money for Mind, a mental health charity in the UK, and the organisers are asking all us knitters and crocheters to make ONE heart for them to sell to raise money for it. If you are interested, the details are here: yarndale.

I also made these little daisies – slightly blurred…. lost in the depth of field a bit. You’ll notice the  leaves are nicely in focus and sharp. If you want the crochet pattern for these, you can find it here.

This is a better shot of them.

My wooden froggy still hasn’t had his crochet hook adjustment and still sits around looking like he’s smoking a fat Churchill cigar. Then again, the large dresser that I want chopping up (it’s too big to get out of the house – originally there was an extra door which got blocked up and has fitted cupboards on the other side so can’t just be opened up again) is still sitting there like a leviathan in the living room. Sadly, someone would love it and I’d gladly give it away for nothing but it just can’t be taken out. Because it feels so criminal, and breaking it up an act of vandalism, it has stayed our hand for a long, long time. Now, I just want it gone and get on with finishing the decorating and getting new flooring down.

My daisies continue to proliferate and will one day take over the world.

And Gracie wanted to be in on the action so here she is. I haven’t taken a picture of Jess for a while. She likes to have long sleeps on the bed and doesn’t run in and out like Gracie does. It’s certainly not favouritism, they are loved equally and I’m crazy cat lady about both of them.

My halo has had a bit of a polish. The train I catch from Dublin to home terminates in Newbridge and as I got off  I saw a bloke fast asleep having a little snore. I gave him a bit of a shake and told him the train was at the terminus – he said ‘Good on you!’  Now I know I’m going to heaven! Not that I know what it’s like to fall asleep on that very  same train, that empties at Newbridge then is ‘Out of Service’ till the next morning and flew like the clappers, like the devil was chasing, back to Heuston station (for example). No, I wouldn’t know anything about that. Or banging on the driver’s door to let him know there was someone on the train and worrying where the train was going to end up… Nope. No clue…

This weekend, I have been technology terminator. First my phone went totally bonkers – time was wrong then it said there was no something-or-other service, then it popped up an alert every two or three ruddy seconds – grr. Try typing a message when you have to click OK to dismiss the stupid pop up that frequently. Then my keyboard died. Then the mouse! Talk about Internet of Things! It was like they’d ganged up on me and decided to go on strike. Anyway, this afternoon I went into Harvey Norman (always declaring War! on prices) and bought a new keyboard and blew a fat wedge of cash on an impulsive buy. There was this honking monitor, a 32″ HP Envy with Bang and Olufsen speakers built in. OMG. For a very long time I’d been whinging about the size of my monitor and how the screen was too small for Photoshop and Illustrator work, well, not comfortably. I’d thought about two monitors. At work I have three, although one is a tiny postage stamp sized laptop that I use as a hard drive. Having multiple monitors is useful but you can lose the mouse. The cursor disappears off the face of the planet and goes handbag shopping for a while and drives me mad. Two –  more manageable but still a bit of a PITA – AWOL cursor troubles…

This single, huge monitor presented itself as THE solution to my problems and here I am typing on my new (but not brilliant keyboard) with vast digital real estate in front of me. The monitor is a joy. I watched some You Tube stuff – Habibi Lal at one of the Tribal Fests, Feeling Good by the Muse and some other stuff. Superb. The keyboard is a bit Meh. The keys don’t always depress – I think it’s if I catch the keys on a corner instead of pressing more centrally. Unfortunately, I don’t really type too brilliantly so am a bit fat-fingered in the typing department.

I bought a new phone – not expensive for a phone – Galaxy J5 but all in all I have spent a lot of money today. So, great and super but an unexpected expense and then there’s the setting up of various things on the phone – a chore but not too awful. As expected, the installed ring tones were lame. Luckily, I have a machine with Linux on and a lovely application called Audacity which edits audio files. So, the opening riff of Gimme Shelter by the Stones will soon be clipped and installed. (I don’t like that track beyond the intro, imho, I think it’s boring).

So there you have it – weekend millionaire! Lol. I’ll be eating baked beans for the next 6 months!

I will, however, enjoy getting on with a papercutting that I’m in the middle of designing on Illustrator using my fab-u-lous new monitor!!!!!!!! I’m lovin’ it!

Crochet heart with popcorn stitch middle

I’ve been enchanted by wonderful crochet things again. I saw a  s-i-m-i-l-a-r  crocheted heart to the one above on the wormhole Pinning Place. You see a pin you like, click on it only to be hooshed along to another page of pins and it becomes a chase-your-tail endeavour. It’s very Alice in Wonderland where she falls down a rabbit hole. Just pi**ing in the wind. Don’t you wish people would put their blog address or their name on the image so you could visit their page directly? There were loads of images on That Place with no direct links. The siren call of the design would not let me give up – ‘Make me I’m Yours’ – so I was on a mission to track the pattern down. It was not easy. So, pouting with a mouth like a sink plunger, I carried on.

The end result netted me pretty much Diddly Squat though I sort of found a pattern for a similar heart but didn’t like the start. Or the middle. And, the less said about the last round the better (there wasn’t one…).

So, the morning was spent frogging (not sure if that term is the right one for unravelling crochet, it’s used in knitting) hooking and reshaping until I got the shape I wanted. Finally, I have a pattern that I think is bullet-proof – I made a few more to check and refine it and am happy with the results.

So, am tooting my horn and my halo is so big you’d see it from Mars but am so delighted with it and myself (my first ever proper reshaping and design) that I’ve got a bit of a bloaty head and excity pants! Much better than excity head and bloaty pants.

I’d share the pattern but it’s written by me for me so probably not in the convention savvy hookers know and you’d laugh at my naivete!

The side view gives a better look at the popcorn stitch flower in the middle.

And in two colours, really pops. Oooh those scrappy balls of wool are looking very attractive… much more attractive than the lawnmower and that unruly lawn…

Though plain white has plenty of charm:

But, as we all know, crochet is addictive and there’s always something gorgeous calling…

I’m starting on a small blanket gift – it’s called Butterfly Garden and the pattern is free from Chris Simon here: Ravelry.   Mine has made an 8″ square (using a 4.5mm hook and Cotton Creative yarn) which is pretty sizable and will make up a blanket relatively quickly. The close up of the corner shows  a couple of the eponymous butterflies.

Have a very Happy Easter.

Sticking a toe in the scary sock world

Heylo to the lot of yers! Ireland is having a gorgeous Indian Summer. As the emperor Caligula said to his sister-wife Drusilla ‘They’ll be no rain’… Oops – sorry, he said ‘There’ll be no PAIN’…. but that’s a different story altogether. Like when he cured his cousin Germellus’ cough by having his head cut off… Not a warm fuzzy feeling kind of guy – unlike my socks. They make me feel all kinds of warm and fuzzy! Now, there’s a segue for you! The murderous and quite barking mad Caligula to knitted socks in a mere moment! Joined neatly together like a perfect seam. Lol.

I got my needles out and clicked and clacked away daring myself to heel-toe and fashion a proper pair of socks. I did it. Hand knitted socks all lovely, rustic and ready for autumn. The wool is rough and scratchy but with a pair of cotton softies underneath will make for toasty toes when the cold starts to nip in the evening. Perfect for scrunching through the autumn leaves on an evening’s ramble.

I followed a basic pattern with lots of pictures and step-by-step instructions; follow the link if you want to make a pair yourself. I don’t know whether to keep them (I want them) or put them to one side as a Christmas present.. (I want them)…

SOCK PATTERN

But, back to the socks; can I part with them? As Hannibal Lecter once said: ‘We begin by coveting what we see every day.  And don’t your eyes seek out the things you want? ‘.  Very true. And that said by a man who couldn’t even bite his fingernails let alone drink a mug of milky Ovaltine. Unless through a straw. But still couldn’t dunk his Hob-Nobs though, eh?! The acid test is, would I eat your liver if you tried to take them from me? Probably. I want them.

Now on to a felted woolen phone case.

This is made from a fabulous woolen cardi that I hot washed and felted. It had a broad fold-over ribbed collar which lent itself beautifully to the job. Two pieces cut big enough to hold the phone. A stitch around three sides (I hand stitched with darning wool and darning needle) and the basic case was made.  I decorated mine with crocheted noodles stitched onto the cuff and bottom.

Noodles are fabulous – mine are stretched taut but they look just fab like pasta spirals ready for hot saucy. The drawstring is a simple length of chained crochet passed through the cuff with a long running stitch. The button was on the original cardi – ceramic so this cosy will have to be as protected as the phone. And hand-washed only, of course.

 

Crocheted Noodles

These are simple to do. Chain a length of crochet – as a gauge, the spiral you get at the end  will be roughly half the length of the chain you make. Starting with the second chain from the hook, make 4 dc into each stitch then cast off. You will have a lovely curly noodle.

You can experiment by using taller stitches like trebles then doubles then singles to taper them or give them  fat bellies by making taller stitches in the middle. Make them as long or short as you like and use them to decorate hats, scarves or anything that would look good with pasta noodles or wooly dreadlocks!

 

Back to the phone case

Now, the curly patterned heart. Another crochet cutie. I have developed a crush on these little sweeties. They bring the socks to life and transform them from army drill boot things,  to curl-up-on-the-sofa-with-Ovaltine-and-Jammy-Dodger-dunkers type of things. Mmmm, while watching an episode of Boston Legal. Please let it be the one with the little man and the skillet…

 

I used it on the socks and I used a few more on the back of my new phone case… am just loving them.

The curly heart pattern is to be written up and have stage photos taken… or maybe, just maybe, I’ll make a video and post it on You Tube… never done that before and would be a lot simpler. Yes. This weekend, I’ll give it a go.

I’ve also been making some other crochet hearts and beaded felted balls. I haven’t decided what to do with them yet but they’re small, delicate (used crochet cotton and a 2.5 hook) and will look pretty on something. The felted balls aren’t machine-wash friendly but the hearts alone would look really nice on the front of a shirt or jumper with some beads. So pretty. Needles to say (pun deliberate) am loving these, too.

Well, those harem pants won’t finish themselves so must get on. Bought a single quilt cover from Ikea last weekend and have used the cotton fabric to make a couple of pairs.  People will recognise their bedding as I waft past eating Turkish Delight and belly dancing through the Dublin throngs – and I will think ‘Made you look – Ha!’.  This bit isn’t true. I rarely eat Turkish Delight (when I do it’s Fry’s and not Cadbury’s). I never belly dance in public (I did go to classes years ago though – tones up those pelvic muscles, ladies, good as Kegels for preventing stress incontinence and other things). And I won’t think anything cos I won’t give a wet slap with a cold fish or a flying fairy cake if anybody notices. They’re comfy, cotton and super-caliph-expidalidocious.

Byyeee – have a good day.

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