Tag Archives: Crochet

Art with my needle ~ A scarf.

I fell in love with the colour of some yarn, looking longingly at it week after week in Parlour yarns. I lifted it down to enjoy it more closely… the feel of the yarn told me it was just created to keep my neck warm in the winter.

It was randomly hand dyed by Lindsay from Dye Candy in Randalstown, County Antrim. The jade green really sold it to me. I have not kept the ball band, and for the life of me cannot remember the details of weight, colour and needle size. I suppose it might be because I am not necessarily a strict pattern follower. I break the rules, changing the needle size to suit my mood and stitch pattern that invades my mind at any particular time.


One skein was enough to complete the scarf in ladder stitch, working crosswise.

Ladder stitch scarf

Ladder stitch scarf

Sorry that photo looks a little blurry, not sure if my hand was shaky or my eyes are tired.

Uhoh! I spy the t-shirt that I spent a full day searching the house for last week. I have a feeling the missing pink bra might be hidden underneath it.

Phew! I am not going mad after all.

Craft with my needle ~ Odds and sods of my yarn stash.


My favourite seat for several weeks (while building up my energy levels)  was in a comfortable armchair near the window for the light and surrounded by the largest crochet project for some time – a corner to corner shrug/blanket/Afghan. Worked in random yarns to use up all the odd skeins, half used balls and odd scraps of yarn lingering at the base of my stash.

Oddments of yarn

A sample of oddments

Most of the yarn I was using had come from leftovers of garments I have made, or yarn that was gifted to me from:

  • Brighid, in California
  • Brogen, to use in memory of her late mother Emma Sharma Hayes
  • Ello in Dublin.
  • Margaret, my now late friend who gifted me some of her stash when it became too difficult to knit.
C2C Blanket - Day 1

C2C Blanket – Day 1

So not alone was I reducing the yarn stash, I was actually creating a Memory Blanket that each time I looked at it or spread it across my knees, I re-lived the making or wearing of an item I had made with a particular yarn.

The people listed above were almost in the room with me as I added their colours and textures to my work.

The original idea was to leave it in the car for emergency use, but the colours were bright & cosy and I felt I wanted  to see it on a daily basis. It is large enough to cover the surface of my double bed. But it lives on the couch so I can snuggle under it for a rest, or pull it over my knees and feet to keep my extremities warn as I work on the next new project.

I do have enough for another C2C and will make one for the car in the autumn.

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My Memory Blanket surrounds me with warm hugs from all the friends who gifted me their yarn, each time I use it.

Many Thanks and love to all of you.

Art with my needle ~ Update

Long gone are the Wednesdays when my regular posts on needlework – either in progress or completed were shared here (I suppose you could say that about all the usual areas of posting).

Well the needles have been active in the background so look forward to a few items turning up here in the weeks to come.

To begin with, I got round to re framing & re-instating The Lady*’!

Before doing so I decided to spring clean the Bathroom. Now you have all seen my bathroom in the past so there is no need to blush.

I replaced the radiator, removed the old faded curtains, made some new ones, but before hanging them, my attention turned to some emulsion for the ceiling, cleaning the wall tiles and tackling the bath…

cleaning my shoes

cleaning my shoes

Yes. I had to clean my shoes** before I cleaned the bath

Bath buns

Bath buns

I find Bath buns*** always help! 😉 After that the bath sparkled like new. I picked some new towels to tone with ‘my lady’.

All fresh and clean

All fresh and clean

All I needed were little ties to keep my curtains in place. Little things often cause me problems, so there was plenty of  ferniggling to achieve the look I wanted.

flowers and butterflies

flowers and butterflies

I began with crochet flowers and then tried butterflies

Curtain ties in place

Curtain ties in place

With the light behind the window, it was difficult to see the new ties. The curtains are a double layer threaded over a pole and the top layer gathered into the ties. For the moment I have it solved.

Butterfly Tie

Butterfly tie

Butterfly tie on a crochet band with a toggle closure at the back.

So finally finished you can see the lady back in place.

Lady reinstated

Lady reinstated

Each of the links marked with red stars lead to the original posts where the photos appeared with explanations. 

You can find my recipe for Bath Buns here



Art with my needle – my latest creation.

It has been a long time and I have almost forgotten how to go about this. Was it one step at a time? Well perhaps yes, but in this case it was one stitch at a time… from an idea racing round in my head. No pattern!

So what elements did I need… a chunky cardigan with a high collar and a pocket for my phone. Could I do that all in one piece?

Today at Parlour Yarns

Today at Parlour Yarns

That much yes, but the sleeves would have to be separate,

The top piece , all worked as one includes the pockets the shawl collar the two fronts and the back. the sleeves were worked separately. Next was the fun part – fitting all the jigsaw pieces together. Testing it on my dress form, lining the pockets and sewing the pieces together.

I wanted buttons down the front with tab closures. Did you notice the difference in the last two photos in the gallery? Four tabs were in place when I left home, but two of them went AWOL!

I found them when I came home from Parlour Yarns, they were lying on the pavement enjoying the sunshine, I nearly drove over them! Note to self:- tighten the buttonholes.

sunbathing tabs.

sunbathing tabs.

Next I wondered how to use up the last two skeins of the yarn…

using the left overs

using the left overs

I have enough for a beret and it is almost finished!

I love my Tuesday mornings, kindred spirits working away, sharing knowledge, fun and laughter!


For Cathy

Cathy left a comment on my post on Wednesday about the knitted cowl I featured. I decided to answer her questions here in a separate post.

Now that looked like an awful lot of stitches to have on the needles at one time. How long did it take to do one round? For years I just used a piece of contrasting wool for a marker, then some swish plastic things, then discovered something similar to Elly’s creations that are so much nicer (and for some reason easier) to use. Will you be using them again soon?
An old knitter here – my fingers never got the hang of that crochet lark. Or maybe it was my mind that couldn’t cope with the different method and process.

First off. I will certainly reuse the stitch/row markers that Elly made when knitting in the round. The more traditional stitch markers will be used for marking increase(s)/decrease(s) in forward and backward knitting.

I was never a fan of the traditional long straight needles. I always manage to bump them against my upper arms leading to a multitude of bruises. Not a pretty sight!

One year Elly gifted me with a set of interchangeable circular needles from KnitPro™, for Christmas, and I never looked back. The detachable cables range from about 30cm to 120cm and with a set of cable connectors, they can be joined to suit any number of stitches and make for very smooth knitting. The actual ‘needles’ fit neatly into my hands and are warm to the touch and very comfortable for anyone with arthritic hands.

For the cowl

Cathy, I regularly get an idea and see it in my head, in 3D. Most of my best efforts are worked that way. It may float around in there (plenty of empty space to do so! 😆 ) before I begin to play about with it, making the pattern up as I go along.

A year or so ago, I saw a lady across a crowed café with a softly draped silk scarf, and it gave me the idea for the cowl. I was working without a pattern and wanted to knit the cowl in the round, using a random rainbow yarn. As you can see from the photo below, I had a selection to choose from, most were single skeins that I had inherited.

Rainbow random tones

Rainbow random tones

I chose the middle one, They are all the same brand and suitable for needle sizes 4mm/3.25mm. A skein is – 100g/300m.

Bliss Baby D.K. in blue and beige

Bliss Baby D.K. in blue and beige


I had to think about the number of stitches I used…… One hundred and ninety, I think. #190. I become so engrossed when I begin a project, that I forget to write down the details.

The stitch I chose was stocking stitch throughout – changing from plain to purl stitch after about five rows – on occasion I worked ten rows before changing. The plain rows of stitches allow the fabric to curl. The purl stitches curl in the opposite direction.

After about four groups of pattern, I reduced the number of stitches evenly around the circle of stitches. I think it was one stitch in every ten at the end of a plain pattern group. Does that make sense?

By turning the cowl inside out, it takes on a slightly different look

Cowl_right side out

Cowl_right side out

Cowl inside out

Cowl inside out

The tiny scrap of yarn above the cowl is all that I had left over from the skein.

Cathy, you talk about having difficulty with crochet. I too, had trouble in the beginning. Holding the yarn in my left hand while working the needle in my right proved to be a total disaster. Eventually I mastered the craft by holding the yarn as I would for knitting!

In 2011, I made three mini videos, to show how I go about it. You can see them here:

Crochet Grannymar Style 1

Crochet Grannymar Style 2


Crochet Grannymar Style 3

This one might be helpful for Joining yarn with a knot in either knitting or crochet:

I hope this answers your questions.

A-tisket a-tasket

Do you remember this
And wonder what it is,

What will it be

What will it be

It changed along the way

A gadget warmer, perhaps?

A gadget warmer, perhaps?

And became….

Finished basket/container

Finished basket/container

A-tisket a-tasket
A diamond trellis basket

It was the first completed item from this crate of yarn, a gift I received from Brogen.

Box of treasure

Box of treasure

Brogen’s mum, Emma Sharma Hayes was a very talented lady and knitting was only one of those gifts. Alas she was not given time to use all the yarn in the crate above, before her allotted time among us had expired. Knowing I enjoy yarn crafts, the crate came my way.

The basket was my token of thanks to Brogen. I was so busy finishing it in the early hours of Saturday, that I forgot to take a photo of the finished item. I had to ask Brogen to email me a photo.

Now I wonder what I will make next…….?


I know that is not a word to be found in a dictionary or thesaurus, and they might try nudging me to the word starving!

Starving, I know.

In fact I am very often starving (I have hollow legs!) and looking forward to my next meal or searching the cupboards for treats to nibble at.

I have been SCARVING: Making scarves! Blame my post on Pom Poms. Well, you know me by now, find a new way to do something in the craft field and I am off to try it out!

I delved into that hoard/treasure chest of wonderful yarns that Brighid sent me. which one would I pick…..? A couple of pompom ideas were floating round in my head.The yarn I chose suggested large pompoms and thankfully there was some more in the same tone, but a different texture to go with it. 😀



Two large pompoms from the velvety yarn on the left and I crocheted the long scarf in the fine yarn to go between them. It will be very soft & cosy in the winter.

Then I began playing with the shaded pink ribbon. I used 15mm knitting needles and it will make a triangular scarf, again using two balls of yarn.

I began with one stitch and increased to three stitches for row 2, then continued increasing one stitch at each end of every row. In the photos you will see that I have used almost one ball so far, but the tension is loose and I like the effect. I will continue until I run out of ribbon/yarn.

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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.