Friday, 31 January 2020

Rainbow Cushion Cover

(I actually wrote this post before christmas, but as these cushions were made as xmas gifts I didn't want to put this post up until after people had received their pressys.)

I keep coming across more and more ideas of stuff I want to try crocheting.
     And so a lot of the time I am just looking for any excuse to crochet.
     I love all the shades of colours of yarn I have gathered and I wanted to make something to show them off. I also wanted to make something out of crochet for an xmas pressy.
     So I decided to have a go at making a rainbow coloured cushion cover.
     I didn't just want it to be a plain stitch though, and one of my current favourite stitches is fan stitch, and it lends itself to the colour changing idea, to make the fans stand out more.
    I went and bought a couple of cushions from a Pound shop, to give me an inner that I could cover, then just threw myself into crocheting.
    Once you have the basic pattern for the fan stitch, it is a really easy one to do, and looks quite striking.
    The cushion cover was easy to make too. Once I had got the width right, it was just a question of making a long length which would wrap around the cushion.
    The simplest way of doing it would have been to sew the cover fastened, but I wanted to make it so that you can take the cover off and wash it. So I overlapped it a bit at the back and added some buttons.
     The only trouble was that the pound shop cushions weren't exactly the same size, which I didn't realise until I had made both cushion covers the same, then found that one fitted perfectly, and the other is a bit of a squeeze. 
    Still, I think they look pretty and I hope that the recipients will like them.

This is the finished length.

Graham is showing the front of one of the finished cushions

And this is the back of the same cushion - which turned out to be  a little larger than the one I made first.

Thursday, 16 January 2020

I'm Fed Up of Being Ill now!

     I am not good at being ill - well not for more than a couple of days.
     Being ill for a day or two is a nice little restful guilt-free holiday - with time maybe for a square or two of crochet. But this latest illness has been a bit of a barsteward.
     It started off as a cough, but rapidly became a chesty conjestion, which meant that getting out of breath was a scary experience - and I could get out of breath walking a few steps across the room. Going to the bathroom, two whole rooms away, could take me quarter of an hour as I would have to have two stop and sit downs on the way to get my breath back.
     And getting upstairs became an impossible dream.
    Which meant that as both of my computers are upstairs, I couldn't get on with any office work, including working on our next mail shot, get on Facebook, or play WoW.
     Even doing a bit of crocheting would get me out of breath.
     So after four days I was starting to get a bit peed off with it.
     The only good thing I can see is that my appetite has been crap too - so I may have lost weight! Yay!
     I suspect that despite how quickly this illness came on, it will linger and take time to get rid of.
     Sleeping has also been difficult as
a) I can't get upstairs to bed
b) if I lay down the coughing gets worse plus I feel as if I am drowning
so I have been having to spend my nights sitting up on the sofa, which combined with the coughing means a few nights with not a lot of sleeping going on. Which in turn has meant that I have been dropping asleep at odd times during the day and evening.
     Graham has enjoyed telling me that as I drift in and out of consciousness I have taken to mumbling. I don't seem to say anything just mumble. Then last night when I fell asleep briefly in the evening he said I had been humming in my sleep. He did say that it sounded nice though.
     As you might have gathered from this blog - I made it upstairs this morning, so things are on the mend.

Sunday, 5 January 2020

Squares! Pretty Squares!

I never thought that crochet would be such an addictive hobby!
      Mind you, I had no idea how creative it was either. I had only ever come across the old fashioned blankets where you just go round and round and round.
     My current passion is for crocheted squares and there seems to be an infinite variety of different designs for this. We had a blanket we had bought at a bootsale, which had been hand knitted from all sorts of left over wool, so I decided to pull it down into its constituent parts.
     Now that was fun for a start! Although I found that the lady who had made it had literally used any kind of wool, in all sorts of different thicknesses. But never mind, it is now balls of wool, ready for more crocheting!
     The main problem with the wool was that the colours were largely pale, and a lot of white - not a good colour when muddy footed dogs are likely to leap up and say 'Hello!' However Graham also recently presented me with a bag of  mixed balls of brighter coloured wool he had found in a charity shop, so these would help make the new blanket I intended creating, a bit more interesting.
     One of the things I like about crocheted squares is that they do not take long to make!
     Which is a good thing when I had reckoned that to make a 6ft by 7ft double bed sized blanket, from 6" squares, I was going to need 156 of them.
     I started off with a very simple pattern for a solid square of double crochet, the only variety in these being changes of colour to create bands within the squares. All of these have an outer edge row of a light purply colour, and I tried also to use similar colours for the internal bits, to give them some harmony but difference at the same time.

     When I'd made twenty or more of those, I was starting to get bored. So I decided to make some slightly more complicated squares which have a circular centre, and then turn into squares. So I made four sets of four, all of which have a slightly brighter coloured solid circle at the centre.

    After that I felt that I was ready to tackle a more complicated pattern.
     I wanted to have a larger square at the middle of the blanket, which I could then surround with the smaller squares, and I found a fab pattern on the internet which looks like a square within a square and has a large twelve petalled flower at the centre (the Charlotte Square from Look At What I Made by Dedri Uys). I think this is the most complicated pattern I have tried so far, but I took my time and tried to follow the instructions closely. Which I am not very good at. I particularly rarely count the number of stitches in each row, to check that I have got the right number.
     Soooooo I thought when it came to the part where you change the pattern from a circle into a square, I had better just count the number of stitches in the circle, to be sure that I ended up with a square with equal sides and not some weird shape with one very long side. There should be 120 stitches in this round.
     When I counted the stitches I had, there were 132.
    It was at that point I decided to count the number of petals in the central flower. It should have twelve petals. Somehow I had managed to create a thirteen petalled flower!
     So now I had a few options:
Leave the thing as a circle and find something to do with it later
Pull the pattern back to where I went wrong and have another go
Try and get back to the original pattern by losing twelve stitches as I turned it into a square.
      Option three it is then!
     Actually that turned out not too bad as I could lose two at each corner and one in the middle of each side without it being noticeable.

My lovely assistant has helped me with the display of the blanket so far.

Graham said he had always wanted to be a model, he just hadn't thought it would involve crochet.
I told him he was in good company as Roger Moore (007) started off modelling knitwear.

Wednesday, 1 January 2020

Happy New Year!

It is the New Year 2020 - you may have noticed - and I have LOADS of stuff to Blog about.
     Where to start is my problem!
     OK let's start with today, a New Day, a New Year and we have Charlie staying with us for a few days. Mike and his family are visiting in-laws and it was agreed that Charlie would probably have more fun visiting us - although Charlie has fun wherever she is, she is a supremely confident and happy dog.
     Charlie also seems to be settling down a bit and getting to understand what she may be allowed to class as a 'toy' and what definitely is not! - my wool for example.
     The nights are also a lot more peaceful, with all the dogs settling down quickly and staying quiet.
     Some times though things can be a bit too quiet.
     Like yesterday morning for example.
     Normally when I get up, I am immediately surrounded by dogs, which I wade through like a boiling furry sea as I make my way downstairs to the bathroom.
     The dogs know that after that, the next stop will be the kitchen, where breakfast biscuits are counted out. Any dogs in attendance at this point will be given a biscuit to keep them going until I get upstairs to the 'games room' where I can work on the facebook page entry for the day. And the rest of the biscuits will be shared out.
     But yesterday all was suspiciously quiet.
     No dogs ambushed me anywhere.
     I had heard somebody gallop downstairs and outside just before I got up, but apart from that all was silence and ominously dog-free.
     I counted out the biscuits into an empty box to carry upstairs and peeped into the living room ... No dogs!
     By this time I was starting to get a little worried.
     I went upstairs and found Bridie in her special den, under the spare bed, but there was still no sign of the two younger and generally noisier members of the family.
     Graham was just getting up, so I told him the situation and he went down to have a look in the back garden.
     There were Charlie and Tallulah outside, Charlie bouncing around Tallulah and Tallulah being very quiet. Obviously something was the matter, but what?
     Anyway, they both came upstairs and all three had their biscuits doled out and eaten.
     After a while I decided to go downstairs and do a bit of crochet - I am currently working on another blanket, more of which later.
     I switched on the living room light and saw that someone had been copiously sick in the middle of Graham's large floor cushion/dog bed.
    I can't do sick - not without 'huey'ing myself - so I called for Graham who quickly sorted it out.
    It looked like someone had bolted their bedtime biccies and it had made an early re-appearance.
     For some reason Tallulah and Bridie thought that they had done something wrong (or that somebody had done something wrong) and that they might get the blame for it, so were in hiding.
     Charlie (the likely candidate) had spent a restful night in Tallulah's bed then nipped outside first thing to visit Tallulah.
     Once the sick situation had been sorted, all three dogs reverted to happy, Happy, HAPPY, BOUNCE, BOUNCE, BOUNCE, BOUNCE !!

     Incidentally I was telling this story to Mike when he rang up yesterday, when Charlie appeared looking very happy and waggy, carrying something very proudly in her mouth.
     I rang off quickly to find that Charlie had managed to get the face flannel out of the bathroom sink. It had already, pretty obviously, had a trip into the garden, so that went in the wash and a new one was found.