Sunday, 30 August 2020

Making Mitts

 Crochet central! 

    Through the Summer I have mainly been concentrating on making bedspreads and throws usually from a variety of squares of different sizes and patterns, but eventually I started to want to try something different. So I decided to have a break from squares, and look at what else I fancied making.

    One of the things I wear a lot in the Winter are fingerless mitts. My wrists often ache in the Winter, when it turns colder, so having something warm around them helps get rid of this, but I want to be able to use my fingers properly, so fingerless mitts are ideal. So I had a look on the internet, my first go-to place for all things crochet and there are some beautiful designs, but a lot of the patterns seemed really complicated. I had a think about it and realised that all you need to do is crochet an oblong.

    Start off by making a chain which is the length you wish your finished mitts to be, from about the base of your fingers, to cover your wrists and a bit more. I actually like a long mitt which nearly goes up to my elbow, so I did a chain of 21 plus an extra two for my first double crochet (most people do a chain of 3 for this, but I've found with my kind of crocheting a 2 chain works better for me). Work your first double crochet in the third chain from your hook and work double crochets all along your line of chains, right back to the beginning, then chain 2 (or 3) and turn and work back along the row doing double crochets in all the stitches along. This is a very simple pattern, but I used some balls of ombre wool (ombre means 'shade' so this is wool which shades from one colour to another) that I had and this makes a colour changing pattern as you continue working. 

    Just continue making your rows of double crochet until the oblong is wide enough to go round your arm at its thickest point. I would make it a little on the tight side as this will make them fit better and also the wool will stretch a bit with wearing. Don't fasten your wool off, as you are going to join both sides together into a tube by using a sort of running slip stitch. It is really easy (everything I do is really easy!).  Line up both sides so that the stitches match each other. Push your hook through both sides of the oblong, as near to the edge as your can get, yarn over at the back, pull your hook through the work and through both loops on your hook. Then move to the next stitch along. 

    Continue in this fashion until you are about 8 stitches from the end. At this point you are going to make your thumb hole, so try the mitt on and see if your thumb will stick through ok, you might want to pull a stitch back or two, but don't worry, you can always pull it back and have another go as long as you haven't fastened off. If your thumb hole is in the right place, rather than doing your slip stitch chain through both sides of your work, just do it in one side, leaving the other side free. Do this five times, then go back to joining the two sides together by pushing your hook through both sides of the tube again. You should have three stitches to join (but there might be 4 or 5, if you pulled back a stitch or two earlier.).

    When you get to the end, don't fasten off until you have tried your mitt on, to make sure you have the thumb hole in the right place. If all is fine, then fasten off and weave your ends in. If the thumb hole doesn't feel quite right you can pull the stitches back and re-position the thumb hole to suit yourself.

    Oh something else I tried was using a larger than normal crochet hook. I tend to use a 4.5mm hook, but for this project I tried a 6.5, which is considerably bigger. This means that your stitches will naturally be larger, and makes it quicker to crochet, but also if you tend to crochet tightly this will also loosen your work, make it feel softer and actually warmer as it will hold more air.

As modelled by my lovely assistant.

Saturday, 8 August 2020

Consecrated Salt and Holy Water

 Two of the items we sell in our Raven Catalogue are Consecrated Salt and Holy Water. These are basic supplies used for a variety of purposes.

    Both of these items are used to cleanse away negative vibrations or any unwanted energies and also to bless objects and make them holy. For example if you have bought a special tool for use in a spell or ritual, you could sprinkle it with Consecrated Salt and a few drops of Holy Water and this would magically cleanse it and prepare it for use in your ritual.

     Basically these items clear away any previous contacts, if someone else has held it or used it. A bit like wiping a computer disc of its previous information and leaving it empty and pristine for you to fill with your own special energies.

    The Consecrated Salt and Holy Water can be used separately, or you can put a little salt into the water to make a particularly highly charged magical preparation. This can be used to bless participants in a ritual, or for initiation rituals, or to cleanse any object or area. Such as clearing out unwanted spirits.

    Consecrated Salt it often used to cleanse items which can be damaged by water, so you can cleanse books or Tarot Cards with it. You can also throw it directly at a manifestation to disperse its energies.

    Both Consecrated Salt and Holy Water can be added to your bath water to cleanse you of any psychic intrusions, get rid of bad luck, hexes or curses. They can also be added to a bucket of soapy water and used to cleanse larger areas such as a room used as a temple, or even to wash the path or road leading to your home.

    They can also be used separately or in combination to create a magical boundary which spirits or other entities cannot cross. So if you were having trouble sleeping, or having nightmares, you could make a boundary around your bed, make sure the line is continuous, but it does not have to be a circle. You can use it to reinforce the magical boundaries of your home too.

    The only things I would not use them on are objects which you want to use for their intrinsic magic or psychic powers. So do not use them on herbs as this removes the very magical powers you want to make use of. Also natural talismans such as a Holy Stone or a horseshoe as, again, you would be wiping away the objects own magic and leaving them blank.