African flowers

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My first one was made in odd acrylic and I really love these colours together!

I have been having some fun with these, once I worked out the pattern I found they were actually fairly simple to make. They hold their shape well too, they are a hexagonal granny square.

 

Then I decided to make a cotton table mat but I needed red cotton, as my dining room has a red theme to it. So I bought a ball of Wendy cotton supreme from my local store,  C & H and tried out a few with the various cotton oddments of yarn I could find. I wanted the entire mat out of cotton so it could be washed easily and would be absorbent. It would also hold it’s shape more.

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Playing around with the colour scheme!

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Here are a few that I tried, I was a bit limited by what colours of cotton I had. I did red and pink and orange and just wasn’t very keen on the outcome, then I thought I’d do a simple flower using only red and white.

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My favourite, simple and stunning.

I liked the effect, less colourful but amazing contrast so I decided to use red and white only for my mat. It was very beautiful.

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And then I made more

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and more

Three flowers made, I wanted seven. A central one, with six on the outside.

This was it once joined together, I decided it needed a little border and then it was done.

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Ta-Daaaa!

Here it is finished with a candle holder in the centre! Now I’ve got another four to make, one for the center of the table and one each for our glasses. I’m debating doing a bigger one with an extra round of stars for the plates.

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Okay, I actually changed my mind and added another border…

So this is the final finished thing, now to make a couple more. If you want to play around with these the pattern can be found here in English, Spanish and Dutch. There’s also other projects you can make with this, a hippo, a bear. The only downside is that it uses American terms, but it’s okay to translate and even has a photo tutorial.

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Another Wool Haul

200 Crochet flowers, embellishments & trims

I’m always needing something to finish a little cardigan, or something I’ve sewn. Crochet embellishments just work great for me, and I seem to always be making flowers for something, so I’ve treated myself to this book, I’ve not made anything yet though. I think it looks good, and the instructions seem easy to follow, maybe I’ll write a review soon.

20 to make Crochet Granny Squares

I always find granny squares versatile too. Sandy has blankets made from them, as did my children. I’ve used them in cardigans, bags, everything. I got this from Deramores, again I’m very pleased with it and it seems easy to follow. It’s also small, so I can take it out with me.

Red heart 100% acrylic black 4ply. The left over Wendy Festival from Andi’s winter set. And a set of buttons I liked.

All of the above is from Deramores. I’m making a little cardigan from the black acrylic, it’s cheap, and I don’t know how it will wear so if the jacket comes out very nice I’ll make another one in cotton. It’s for Sandy, in 2-3 years, but the pattern includes 3-4 as well.

The Wendy made Andi a very nice hat and scarf, but I’ve not yet got the decent pictures of it.

And the buttons? I don’t know yet, I just liked them.

Sirdar Montana

Eight balls of Sirdar Montana. I’m not sure what this is for yet, it was in the sale.

Thee balls of Patons 100% cotton. Two balls of red Bonus DK acrylic, and one ball of green.

This yarn is from Hobycraft, the black 100% cotton. I got red and green is acrylic too, there was a 3 for 2 offer on. I want to do a strawberry jumper. I had to drive ten miles to the nearest hobby craft though, which is slightly annoying, on the plus side, parking was free.

C&H wool haul.

This photo is a mess. I raided the sales in my local (expensive) wool shop. I did very well.

I got a pack of crochet hooks, just because they’re always good to have around and I’m missing a lot of smaller sizes.

4 balls of Wendy Supreme DK cotton, two orange and two green.

Sirdar snuggly 4ply in sage.

An odd patterned wool that’s lost the band.

And an odd chunky, same story.

Regia 4ply sock wool, two balls.

An eyelash yarn by Sirdar, not sure what for, but loving the colour. I only use those yarns for trims anyway.

4 balls of a nice cotton yarn that I can’t remember the name of at the moment.

 

Next I’ll be knitting this all up. Well, hopefully. I got four patterns too, but I’ll show those when knitted up.

Andi keeps nagging me to get a ravelry, I don’t know what the big deal is.

How I buy my yarns and what I like

Knitted in Robin DK, a cheap 100% acrylic yarn.

My, what  long title. I can’t think of a way of condensing it, because I want to talk about my favourite wool brands, and my buying habits. I do have a pretty big stash of odd wools, but even so I still need to buy things to supplement or because I don’t have the required colour, brand or texture.

I’m going to go into that last one a bit more. Texture. Wool, acrylic, mohair, cotton and other blends of wool or yarn all have a different texture. This is in double knit (DK) not in things like chunky or 4ply, but again those have a different texture. For example, wool has a bit of hair to it, cotton is completely smooth, mohair is fuzzy and things like polyester yarns exist in a furry version. That’s just touching on the subject of texture, but if you want to know more look at different yarns when you go out, look at things like acrylic compared to real wool and mohair. That’s the best way you’ll understand it.

If I’m buying a new brand that I’ve never seen, handled and worked with before I buy it in person. Well, I buy most of my wool in person, I like my local (10 mile away) wool shop, the women in there are nice, it’s distracting me to look at other things I wouldn’t have seen, there’s a clearance bucket. I like going into the real shop, it’s nice and it supports localish business. More importantly it gives me a chance to check the colour of the wool, if it’s really the shade I’m looking for, and I can check it against other colours for striping. I can feel the wool, which means I can see what the texture and thickness is like as not all double knit wools are the same thickness. I can see how rough it is, and what it looks like when knitted up because my wool shop has gauge squares with their brands! Sometimes I will buy online if I know the brand and type of wool is one I like and won’t disappoint me. I try to buy from shops with a physical store, because I miss the old days when wool shops were everywhere. I do not like having to drive ten miles just to buy some wool!

So what brands (and their wools) do I like?

  • King Cole – Baby DK, 100% acrylic and around £2.50 fr 100g. Bamboo Cotton DK 50% cotton and 50% bamboo, £5.50 for 100g.
  • Patons -100% cotton in DK and 4ply under £5 for 100g.
  • Peter Pan – Moondust DK, 55% nylon and 45% acrylic around £3.50 for 50g. Peter Pan DK , also exists in 2ply, 3ply and 4ply in fewer colours, 55% nylon and 45% acrylic. DK is around £3.50 for 50g.
  • Robin – Robin Aran with Wool, 25% wool and 75% acrylic, around £10 for 500g. Robin DK, 100% acrylic and around £2 for 100g. Robin Chunky, 100% acrylic, around £2 for 100g.
  • Stylecraft – Eskimo – 100% polyester £2 for 50g. Classique Cotton DK, 100%cotton and £4.50 for 100g.
  • Sirdar – Snuggly Baby Speckle DK, 60% cotton and 40% acrylic, roughly £4 for 50g. Snuggly Baby Crofter DK, 55% nylon and 45% acrylic around £4 for 50g. Snuggly Baby Bamboo, 80% bamboo and 20% wool, £4 for 50g.
  • Wendy – Yeti, 100% , £2 for 50g.
  • Katia – This is a newish wool brand, I saw some in Paris when I last visited Andi, she bought a ball of Inca, I’ve not personally worked on it, she has and said it was a very good one. It’s the colours that amazed me, it cost around 9€. 50% wool and 50% acrylic, chunky weight. I’m hoping I can stumble across more.

As with the Katia – Inca yarn there’s been many times where I’ve found a new brand that I like, I buy it, but then I forget the brand, or it’s from a weird shop in France and doesn’t exist in the UK, so the above list is just a quick summary. Back in the 1980’s I used to make a lot with mohair too, but I’m not liking that much these days. Basically I like DK yarns, mainly cotton, or acrylic depending on the colours, texture and most importantly, price. I don’t like spending too much on wool because it seems wasteful to me, yes I like the more expensive wools, but I’ve not got the kind of money to buy them.

A jumper made from Sirdar’s Crofter DK yarn. The picture doesn’t do it justice, it’s so beautiful.