Sunday, 15 July 2018

Crochet lacy dress scarf - written pattern

I published the chart for my lacy dress scarf at the back end of last year. It has had a lot of hits on it recently, I imagine people are looking for lightweight scarf patterns for summer. A few have asked for written instructions and I'm delighted to now be able to oblige. I’ve included some photos as well. I know when I’m following a pattern for the first time, pictures can be very reassuring.

All instructions are written in UK crochet terms

This version uses 2.5mm crochet hook and 2 x 50g balls of Rico Creative Melange laceweight yarn although much will depend on how long and wide you make your scarf, adjust yarn amount accordingly

ch - chain
dtr - double treble 
sp - space
dc - double crochet

Foundation row:
Make a slip knot on your hook, ch multiples of 7 plus a further 8. For this version, I chained 43, ie 5 x 7 = 35 + 8 = 43. (2 dtr, ch 1, 2 dtr) in 10th ch from hook * ch 1, skip 6 ch (2 dtr, ch 1, 2 dtr) in next ch, repeat from * until 5 ch remain, ch1, skip 4 ch, dtr in final ch, turn

Row 1:
ch 7, dc in first 1 ch sp, (see photo below for the place)

ch 3 * skip 2 dtr (2 dtr, ch 1, 2 dtr) in 1 ch sp, 3 ch, skip 2 dtr, dc in 1 ch sp, 3 ch, repeat from * until you reach 9 ch at the end (see picture below for how work will look at this stage)

(dc, 3 ch, dtr) in 9 ch sp, turn

Row 2:
ch 5, * (2dtr, ch 1, 2 dtr) in 1 ch sp marked “1”,

ch 1, repeat from * working only into the 1 ch sp inbetween dtrs indicated by numbers on the photo until you reach 7 ch at the end, dtr into 7 ch sp, turn 

Row 3:
Same as row 1, except the ch sp you work into at the end is a 5 ch sp

and this will be true for all subsequent repeats

Repeat rows 2 and 3 for the length desired ending on a row 2, do not fasten off. 

Bottom finishing row:
ch 4, skip (1 ch, 2 dtr)

*(2 dtr, 1 ch, 2 dtr) in 1 ch sp indicated above, ch 3, skip 2 dtr,

dc in next 1 ch sp indicated above, ch 3, skip 2 dtr, repeat from * moving along the row, ending on (2 dtr, 1 ch, 2 dtr) in 1 ch sp

ch 4, dc in 5 ch sp indicated, fasten off

Top finishing row:

Turn work upside down with yarn tail to your left. Rejoin yarn in 7 ch sp at right hand corner indicated above, leaving a tail long enough to weave in later, ch 4, *skip rest of chs in the ch sp

(2 dtr, 1 ch, 2 dtr) in ch sp indicated above, ch 3, dc in 6 ch sp, ch 3, repeat from * ending with (2dtr, 1 ch, 2dtr)

ch 4, dc in corner st indicated, fasten off. Weave in ends.

Add a fringe of your choice or you can make the one I did. I originally found the instructions for this bobble fridge via Pinterest on Once Upon a Pink Moon's blog. I thoroughly recommend you go look and see all the things Robin gets up to on her blog, she is a very creative and talented lady. On that website it's written in US terms so I've converted it to UK terms for you here and I have modified it ever so slightly. I'm including a few photographs here to show you exactly how to add it to this scarf.

Step 1 - Rejoin yarn by making a slip knot loop and pulling through the first 1ch sp (indicated above), ch 1, dc in same sp

Step 2 - ch 9, yo, insert hook in 3rd ch, yo, pull yarn through, yo, pull yarn through 2 loops (2 loops on hook) *yo, insert hook into same ch, yo, pull yarn through, yo, pull yarn through 2 loops (3 loops on hook), repeat from * once (4 loops on hook) **

Step 3 - yo, pull yarn through 4 loops, ch 3 (see below for how your work will look)

Step 4 - yo, insert hook into 3rd ch from hook (indicated above), yo, pull yarn through, yo, pull yarn through 2 loops (2 loops on hook), repeat from * to ** twice 

Step 5 - yo, pull through 4 loops. Insert hook into the V of the ch at the bottom of the first bobble indicated below. This has the effect of “folding” the two bobbles on top of each other.

NB It's quite fiddly to do, you will need to wiggle the tip of the hook into each side separately, it is quite tight because of the number of stitches worked into it already.

Step 6 - yo, pull yarn through (2 loops on hook), yo, pull through both loops, ch 6, skip (2 dtr, 3 ch, dc, 3 ch, 2 dtr), dc in 1 ch sp indicated below

Repeat steps 2 to 6 all the way along, ending in final 1 ch sp with dc, fasten off. Repeat the fringe on the other end and then weave in all ends.

The scarf will benefit from blocking, it brings out the lacy stitches beautifully. Drop the scarf in a bowl of tepid water and then very gently squeeze the excess water out (do not wring!) Roll it up in a dry towel to blot out some more. Lay the scarf on fresh dry towels (I needed two laid end to end) over carpet or a blocking board and then pin it out gently, stretching it a little as you go using rustless stainless steel pins. Pay particular attention to the "points" created on the finishing rows by placing a pin in the 1 ch sp, being careful to keep them in a straight line.

Leave to dry overnight and then you can wear it! 

Saturday, 30 June 2018

Alan Titchmarsh is a fibber

Here at the end of a very hot flaming June, over a cup of tea, I’m looking back at some photographs I’ve taken of our garden. Flowering in the foreground is Sedum kamschaticum variegatum. At the back of that is a towering specimen of Buddleia Globosa. It’s flowering wonderfully but it’s massive! There is a reason why I have had to let it get so big. 

This is its third summer here. All the received wisdom is that you prune your buddleias in early Spring, everyone knows that. However this advice does not apply to B. Globosa.

I planted it as a pot grown shrub, as it was in the Spring, I duly cut it back. I got lots of healthy foliage but no flowers, I wasn’t worried, it was just settling in, how lovely it would be in its second year. Unfortunately, I again pruned it in Spring. I was puzzled why there were no flowers the following Summer, it just kept growing, getting bigger and bigger. 

When pruning time came round again THIS Spring, I checked on-line and discovered, unlike the Davidii cultivars, Buddleia Globosa only flowers on last year’s growth so I had been cutting off all the flower-bearing branches. Even though it was already quite big, if I wanted flowers this year, I would have to leave off pruning for at least another few months so it just got bigger until it got to the gigantic proportions you see. 

Who knew Alan Titchmarsh was such a fibber ... he even repeated the advice “If you haven’t already done it, prune your Buddleias now” on his Classic FM Programme one Saturday morning in March; of course he was talking about Davidii but even so, I was tempted to send a cross letter!

Monday, 4 June 2018

Loft conversion craft room on its way

The guys have had only a couple of days on converting our loft into my new craft room but it’s taking pretty good shape so far.
If we can get a couple of Velux windows here in time for Friday, then those will be fitted then to bring light in. First fix electrical work is happening next week. 

The room that used to by my craft room is immediately below this room. That is going to be dry lined and also have new windows, it will become a guest bedroom with a Jack and Jill ensuite shower room. The ensuite will have a door from that room and be shared, via a second door (hence the term Jack and Jill) with the other first storey bedroom which MTM currently uses as his study when he’s working from home. I also have my desktop computer in that room. 

Most of today I have stayed out of the way in my outdoor studio making beads whilst they got on with it but came indoors briefly to make bacon butties for us all late morning. This afternoon, I came indoors to prepare some packages to send out before the post goes at 4.45pm so I was in the study printing packing slips and sellotaping beads into five packages. 

On the radio, entertaining the workers, was Steve Wright’s unfailing chipper cheerfulness, golden oldies incongruously mixed in with medical matters such as information on sciatica and the latest developments in antibiotics. Not my idea of good listening, I realise I sound very ungrateful for all they have achieved today but at one point, I had my head on the desk whilst MTM laughed at me “when are they going home?” I wail; they’ve been here since 7am! Fortunately, I only had to put up with it for an hour but the antidote (as soon as they’d gone) is the melancholy lyrics of Justin Currie and Del Amitri. Del Amitri are touring England and Scotland in July, some venues still have tickets. 

By the time of the concerts, I hope the renovations will be finished so all that’s left is decorating which I can do myself .... whilst playing my own choice of music.

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Sock yarn stashbuster blanket

We are gearing up for more renovations here at Doran Towers. I have had to clear out my craft room before work commences. Most of the contents have gone into a storage locker including six big plastic boxes of my yarn stash. It was quite a wrench letting them go along with the furniture.

Many of my WIPs (works in progress) that I couldn’t bear to live without and I may want to work on here have had to be squirrelled away and are currently nestling in various hiding places in the rest of the house like sad little refugees til I can get round to finishing them.

The one pictured above is the largest. It’s a sock yarn scrappy blanket. I throw away very little. I am a hoarder, particularly when it comes to craft supplies. Every time I finished a pair of socks, or any 4-ply project, leftover yarn was chucked into this box. When I got enough to make a good start, I cast on about 150 stitches using four strands at a time on 9mm circular needles. Every time a ball of yarn ran out, I Russian-joined another in, doing a few odd rows when I wanted something I could knit without thinking about. As it’s the biggest WIP, and nearly large enough to be considered finished,  I’ve given it a priority to complete.

My embroidery threads are living behind a cushion on the sofa, bless. The DMC cotton in the brown paper bag were rediscovered from my cross-stitching day’s in the late 80s. I forgot I had such treasure (told you I never threw away craft supplies). 

So there is a downside to the latest refurbishments but the biggest up is the discovery, under a cheap carpet, of a wonderful floor of real floorboards. It’s a bit careworn in places, some old woodworm and paint spattered but it’s beautiful and destined to be a backdrop to many photographs in the future.

Saturday, 12 May 2018

Easter cactus plant renamed

I don’t know if you remember my Doctor Sue posting in 2015 about a Christmas cactus which I bought cheap as a casualty. This is it today, flowering its heart out on my kitchen window cill. 

The fuchsias I bought at the same time also survive as cuttings taken every year and overwintered in the greenhouse. The original standards snapped off in some windy weather. Entirely my fault, I didn’t secure them properly but it’s great that from that original investment, I get plants for free which repays the cost of heating the greenhouse at night during the colder weather. 

I’ve renamed the cactus as it seems to prefer flowering at Easter, I haven’t told it that it’s late ... again!