Sunday, 2 December 2018

Holey Suns crochet jar covers


I am pleased to publish another free crochet pattern, this one is for a lacy jar cover like the ones in the photograph above.

All instructions are written using U.K. crochet terms

Sizing Information

The basis of this jar cover is a the holey sun motif, full instructions and chart below. Each motif will come out at around 1.75 inches and needs to be slightly stretched to show itself to best advantage. Measure your jar around the circumference to see if it is appropriate for this design. In the photograph above, the motifs are stretched so they are a little under 2 inches wide. 

From left the circumferences and number of motifs used in the resoective jars illustrated are as follows:

Olive jar 300g (3 rings of six motifs), 297mm/11.75" circumference
Marmalade jar  (2 rings of 5 motifs), 227mm/9" circumference
Straight sided high ball glass (3 rings of 5 motifs) 225mm/9" circumference
Sharwoods Mango chutney jar 360g  (3 rings of 4 motifs), 200mm/7.75" circumference

Materials

2mm hook 

10-25g Lace weight cotton or linen thread, depending on the size of the jar. I used 3-ply linen on the example here in the tutorial but the ones in the photograph above were made with Scheepjes Sugar Rush or Scheepjes Bon Bon which is a cotton 2-ply. Rico's Creative Melange (Lace Weight) or Rico's Crochet Essentials would also work well.

Darning needle for weaving in ends

Abbreviations
ch - chain
dc - double crochet
dtr - double treble
ttr - triple treble
dtr2tog - two dtr joined at the top, see special stitches section below
ttr3tog - two ttr joined at the top, see special stitches section below
st - stitch
ss - slip stitch
rs - right side
beg - beginning
sp - space
sps - spaces

SPECIAL STITCHES YOU WILL NEED LATER

Instructions on working dtr2tog 
yo twice, insert hook into previously worked st, yo, pull through st (4 loops on hook), (yo, pull through 2 loops) twice (2 loops on hook), yo twice, skip 1 st, insert hook in next st, yo, pull through st (5 loops on hook) yo, (pull through 2 loops) twice (3 loops on hook) yo, pull through 3 loops

Instructions on working ttr3tog 
yo 3 times, insert hook in top of dtr2tog, yo, pull loop through st, (5 loops on hook), (yo, pull loop through 2 loops) 3 times (2 loops on hook), yo 3 times, insert hook into ss, yo, pull loop through ss, (6 loops on hook), (yo, pull loop through 2 loops) 3 times (3 loops on hook), yo 3 times, insert hook into dtr2 tog, yo, pull loop through st, (7 loops on hook), (yo, pull loop through 2 loops)  3 times, (4 loops on hook), yo, pull loop through 4 loops



FIRST MOTIF

Round 1: Wrap yarn around index finger 5-6 times. Without removing the resultant ring, squeeze hook underneath the yarn wraps, yo, pull the loop down past the wraps, ch 1, pulling it as tight as you can to secure and remove from finger.  



24 dc into ring, ss into first dc (24 dcs)

Tip: it is easy to mistake the first ch as a dc, (the photograph below shows the correct place).



Do not turn (rs faces you throughout this project)

Round 2: ch 3, skip 1 st, dtr in next st (darning needle in the photo below indicates the place)



*5 ch, dtr2tog (instructions for working this stitch are in special stitches section above), repeat from * all round, working the final “leg” of the dtr2tog into the base of the ch 3 that this round started with, (photograph below indicates where this is)



5 ch, ss into top of dtr.



Cut yarn, leaving an end long enough to thread onto a needle to weave in later. Fasten off by pulling the end through the loop on your hook. You should have twelve "rays" (created by the dtr2togs) joined with twelve 5 ch spaces. Your motif should measure approximately one and three quarter inches (45mm).



SECOND MOTIF when working this motif, it is joined to the first motif during the second row

Work round 1 as per first motif

Work round 2 but stop after 4 “rays” have been created, ch 2,



holding yarn high out of the way, insert hook into any 5 ch string on first motif as indicated in above photograph, yo, pull through loop on hook (thereby working a ss), 2 ch, 

Turning your attention back to the second motif, dtr2tog, 2 ch 



ss into next 5 ch string on first motif as indicated in above photograph, 2 ch,  *dtr2tog, 5ch repeat from * completing the twelve rays by working the second "leg" of the final dtr2tog into the base of the 3 ch at the beg of the row (see photograph below) 


5ch, ss into top of dtr, cut yarn leaving a long enough tail to weave in later, fasten off, leaving a tail long enough to weave in later.

THIRD MOTIF

Join on more motifs until you have the total needed to go round the girth of the jar minus one (the final motif is joined in more places, see below for instructions). The motifs should be in a straight line, with four 5 ch spaces either side of the joins as below. 



TO COMPLETE THE FIRST RING OF MOTIFS

Make and join another motif, stopping after this motif has ten rays. Fold the line of motifs in half and then identify the two 5ch spaces to join to using the picture below as a guide, there should be four 5ch spaces to the left and right of the two you need. Join in the manner established to the 5ch space on the right first and then the other. Fasten off. 



Try the ring of motifs out on your jar. It should be slightly stretched to give the best effect. Further rings of motifs will enhance the effect.



At this point, it’s a good idea to weave in the ends before starting on the next ring of motifs.

FIRST MOTIF OF SECOND RING

Make another motif in the now established manner stopping after you have 4 rays, ch2 and then join the motif in the manner established to four of the 5 ch spaces on the first ring in the order indicated below and then finish the motif. 



SECOND MOTIF OF SECOND RING

Make another motif in the method now established, stopping after four "rays", this time, join the motif to six of the 5 ch spaces on the first ring in the order indicated below.



When joining the last motif of the second round, you will need to join the motif to eight of the 5 ch spaces.

For medium sized jars, two rings of motifs may be enough but if you need another, repeat the instructions for the second ring. My 300g olive jar, required three rows.

STRAIGHTENING ROW

Locate the uppermost two 5ch sps in any motif in the first ring (as indicated by the darning needles in the photograph below). 


Make a slipknot in your yarn, leaving a tail long enough to weave in later, insert hook in the 5ch sp on the right hand side, pull slipknot through, ch 1 (does not count as a stitch) pulling it quite tight, *dc in 5ch space, ch 3, dc in next 5 ch sp, ch 3, tr in the next 5ch sp, 3 ch, ttr3tog in the intersections indicated below (instructions for working ttr3tog are explained above in the special stitches section),



3 ch, tr in next 5 ch sp, 


3 ch, repeat from * all round, ss into top of first dc, do not fasten off.

The next three rows forms a rounded bottom for the jar so the jar cover won't slip off. 

FIRST REDUCING ROW

For this row, we will be working into the top of stitches and ignoring all the 3 ch spaces, the darning needles in the photograph below indicates where to work




ch 3, skip 3 ch sp, dtr in st, * ch 2, dtr2tog, repeat from * all round. The row will look like a zig zag. 



Finish with 2 ch, ss into top of the dtr at the beginning of the row as indicated above.

SECOND REDUCING ROW

Again working in sts and skipping the ch 2 sps as you did in the First Reducing Row, ch 3, skip 2 ch sp, dtr in st, * ch 1, dtr2tog, repeat all round. Finish with 1 ch, ss into top of dtr at beginning of row.

THIRD REDUCING ROW

Working in sts and ignoring the 1 ch sps, ch 3, skip 1 ch sp, dtr in st, dtr2tog all round, finishing with ss into dtr at beginning of round. cut yarn and fasten off by pulling yarn through loop on the hook. weave in the end.



Try the jar cover onto your jar, it will now not slip off the botton of the jar.



To finish the jar off, we need to do the top now. Try the cover onto your jar again. As you can see from my photo above, the cover is about a centimeter below where the shoulder of the jar starts to curve in. This is exactly where I want it to be as it needs to be stretched a little to show the motifs off to their best. I am now ready to finish off the top. 

Once your cover is about a centimeter below the shoulder of the jar, repeat the Straightening Row.

NB If your cozy is still a little short from the shoulder, or your jar has straight sides work the First Reducing row but ch 3 (instead if 2) after each dtr2tog. This will give you a nice row of zig zags but without reducing the size of the round.

Repeat the First Reducing Row.

Try on the jar cover and assess whether the shoulder has been covered and you have reached the straight neck of the jar. The reducing row might make it slightly tricky to get on but once it is on, you can see it curves nicely around the shoulder pulling the rest of the cozy up and stretching the motifs.



From the photograph above, you can see my First Reducing row has only covered half of my jar's shoulders. I therefore repeated the First Reducing Row (NB not the Second Reducing Row) to reach the bottom of the neck of the jar. You may not need to do another row and can go straight to the finishing row(s) below.

FIRST FINISHING ROW

ch 4, * dtr in 2 ch sp, 1 dtr in next st repeat from * all round finishing with dtr in final 2 ch sp, ss into top of beg 4 ch at the start of the round.

SECOND FINISHING ROW

NB, If your jar has a small neck, you may not need to do this row and can jump straight to the next row. Try it on to check, mine needed a Second Finishing Row.
ch 4, dtr into every st all round, ending with ss into top of beg 4 ch at the start of the round.

FINAL FINISHING ROW

ch 1, dc into same st, dc in next st, *ch 3, ss into first ch (forming a picot), dc in each of next 3 sts, repeat from * finishing with dc in final st(s), ss into first dc at beginning of round. Fasten off. Weave in all remaining ends. 


Saturday, 10 November 2018

Moving into the new craft room


My new craft room in the loft is nearly ready to move into. It’s been a busy few weeks trying to fit the decorating in amongst having a week’s holiday and keeping my bead shop stocked.


I hadn’t done any wallpapering for about twenty years but fortunately, I hadn’t forgotten.


There is a lot of work in the ceiling. It looked a bit like a sauna when the matchboarding was first fitted. I wanted a distressed look ... which takes more doing than you might realise. All the nail holes had to be filled and sanded (I had a power tool for that bit so it went quite quick).a A coat of antique pine wood dye got rid of the new timber colour, then a single coat of watered down emulsion. To make it look like it had naturally weathered off, those layers were then h.a.n.d. sanded.  I couldn't use the power tool for that bit as I had to go slow and steady and stop when it looked right. At this point, I was beginning to wish we'd just plastered the lot as it would've been much quicker to just put two coats of emulsion on it but finally it was sealed with two coats of clear satin varnish and I'm delighted with it. All the work removed my fingerprints, for a fortnight my iPad refused to recognise me unless I put my passcode in!


The bannister is being fitted today by the joiner as I type. We’re having floor to ceiling spindles rather than a short one with a handrail on top, as you can see, the staircase has an integral handrail so doesn’t need another. The tall spindles will be a bit of a design feature as well as stopping anyone falling down the side of the stairwell.

The electrician is coming on Monday to fit light fittings, socket and a small heater.

,,u

The contents of the craft room have been collected from storage and are in boxes in the spare bedroom.

Some self-assembly storage shelving thingees are also arriving next week but there seems to be far more boxes than I remember ... I’m hoping it will all fit!

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Happy halloween


Apologies to trick or treaters, a giant Pom Pom monster has eaten all the chocolate.

Happy Halloween anyway!

Saturday, 13 October 2018

What matters is Dad’s rhubarb survived


We have built steps alongside my raised vegetable beds and painted the timber black. There was a grass sloping path going up there before which I thought would be easy to maintain ... just mow and go! But it didn’t really work, it is hard work to mow on a slope; I could just about do it by going downhill, letting gravity assist but I still had to haul the mower backwards up to do the next strip and there was always the danger if by chance I accidentally let go, the mower would end up in the river! And all the edges to trim .... of course those got left to grow long and I would only cut them once a month, it looked a mess. 

We did think about putting mowing edge strips in which would’ve solved the edge trimming problems but we decided to rid ourselves of both problems by making steps in the same timber as the beds. MTM did the carpentry but I helped holding the steps level in place whilst he screwed coachbolts in. So there we have it, one of my bad ideas remedied with barrow loads of limestone mixed with stones collected from my flower beds to make a hardcore base, rammed solid with a heavy lump hammer and buckets of gravel as top dressing. 

So, it’s been a while since I wrote about my vegetable plot, nearly two years, I expect you want to know why I haven’t been photographing neat rows of veg and trugs full of produce, don’t you? (You may as well say “yes” seeing as I’m going to tell you anyway). 

Raised beds drain quite freely and need more watering. I have a large water butt handily close, collecting water from the roof which I thought would be enough to cope with any dry periods. I planted a load of seed potatoes and had an early enthusiastic rush of seed sowing in the Spring of 2017. The water butt emptied remarkably quickly, the outside tap is a long way off and carrying watering cans wasted too much time. I had to keep relocating my hosepipe and trailing it across everywhere was also a pain. I needed another hosepipe, one was duly obtained but the fittings were wrong, they kept coming off - why isn’t there just one system for this kind of thing? This was all before I had my own car and so I had to rely on MTM conveying me to buy the right ones. By the time the hosepipe was laid under the decking so it was out of the way and we had the correct fittings the veg plot had been abandoned to itself, I got a few potatoes which chastised my lack of care by developing scab they peeled OK and we ate them but everything else ran early to seed and I didn’t sow any more due to the watering problems. The only plants I attended to were the rhubarb and strawberries transplanted  from my dad’s garden as I would hate to lose those.



We did have quite a lot of strawberries that year, I didn’t take enough photographs .... they got eaten VERY quick! I was leaving the rhubarb to get well established before harvesting. The received wisdom is to leave it for a year.

Ok, so that explains no produce in 2017, what about this year then? I have MUCH better excuses this year! There is a sycamore tree growing in the hedge along the boundary between us and a field next door. It doesn’t shade the plot as it faces South-West, the sun gets through in the afternoon in slanted rays. We trimmed off the lower branches when we put the beds in but thought we could leave those higher up.

Again, I had a frenzy of seed sowing in Spring 2018 and everything was coming through nicely. Then one day I went out and noticed all the seedlings, my beloved rhubarb and some of the strawberries were covered in a shiny substance that looked a bit like snail trails but it was all over and slightly sticky. The tree’s branches were infested with aphids which were raining down honeydew on everything underneath. I tried to wash it off using my very handy hose, it was easy to get off the tough rhubarb leaves but I had to be more gentle with everything else and of course it was only going to happen more. In a few days time, the honeydew I hadn’t got off had turned to sooty mould and the seedlings didn’t amount to much. I am very cross with the bird life for not keeping the aphids in check, much easier to help yourselves to my bird table is it?! No more sunflower seeds or peanuts for you!

A heavy shower got rid of the aphids onto the vegetable plot itself, they were everywhere and to be fair on the birds, they did help themselves once the aphids were on the ground. I cleared away was what left of my sowings and then the weather got hot didn’t it? Very hot in fact. Too hot for me to be outside but hey, this heatwave won’t last, I will sow some more seeds when the weather cools down .... and of course it didn’t cool down for weeks and weeks. I limited my time outdoors, I hate being active in the heat. I just about kept up with weeding in the flower beds on the ornamental side of the garden where I had invested in some shrubs and perennials.











So, summer passes, the heat stays. It finally cools and there’s still time to grow some quick maturing crops so I get the seed packets out again. They germinate, I diligently hoe and water them. Finally, I will get some produce! But then another disaster strikes. There are sheep in the field opposite and next to us, they’re fenced off so they can’t get into our garden .... or can they? There is a kind of gateway wire fence across the river where the farmer’s land meets ours. It spans across the top of the river and normally the water is high enough so that the gap between the bottom of the wire is too small for sheep to pass under it. With the river being so low due to the drought, this was no longer the case and two enterprising sheep got under and into the vegetable garden which is not fenced off on our side. We only have a fence in the ornamental section to stop Bongo going into the river, he is excluded from the veg plot with an internal fence and a gate. What the sheep didn’t eat got trampled under their cute cloven feet.

The thing I’m grateful for is that rhubarb leaves obviously don’t taste very nice, in fact I think the leaves are poisonous, apart from a few missing mouthfuls, they left it alone. As luck would have it, the strawberry plants still had the wire cloches that MTM made over them to stop the birds eating the fruit else I’m quite certain they would have been eaten as well. I’m so glad I didn’t lose them I have now planted some runners in the ornamental section as an insurance protection against it happening again. 

We’ll see what happens next year! 







Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Progress photos on latest refurbishments



A few pictures of where we are on the two rooms we are refurbishing. As usual, being married to a builder means I’m the one who has to wait ... the client who is paying with late penalty clauses always comes first! To be fair to MTM, the reason we’re still living on a building site this time isn’t all down to his busy work schedule. We got messed around timings wise by our favourite plasterer. He is always in demand and then he decided he was going on holiday (how very dare he?!)

A space saving new staircase has been installed in the spare bedroom which goes up into the loft area which will be my new craft room. There was a big cheer when this bit was finished; it was a bit touch and go whether we would achieve the necessary head clearance height required by Building Regulations. A whole 50mm to spare, what were we worried about, yea of little faith?


MTM’s  joiners were very busy working on a school over the summer. With the kids due back in early September, he couldn’t spare anyone over the summer, this was the first opportunity to get them. There are still some bits and pieces to finish like the bannister and trim to the edge of the staircase opening and covers for inspection holes in the eaves but we are now in a position to book the electrician and plumber for their second fix operations. 


As you can see, I have already started decorating, putting a single mist coat over the bare plaster in the craft room. I used some leftover Calico emulsion from when we did the utility area but I ran out (I thought I just had enough, I would never make a good estimator). I’ve got some white emulsion now to finish it but doesn’t matter that it’ll be bicoloured as the gable ends are going to be wallpapered.



I was a bit miffed that we had to cover up the lovely old Victorian wall and beams that were there before.



MTM insisted it had to be insulated and dry lined. This is a solid wall, once we start heating the room, it would get condensation and mould would quickly grow. You have to form a cavity to remove the cold bridge.  I had to agree although I would enjoy looking at it, long term it would be no good working up there in winter in the freezing cold with teeth chattering. Also, it’s necessary for Building Regulations approval. We have found some wallpaper which looks like old brickwork so hopefully when it’s decorated it will look almost as good.



The light provided by the Velux windows in the craft room provide a really good light. I always struggle to find somewhere indoors where I can crochet with black yarn as the light needs to be really good for my middle aged eyes to cope; I’m looking forward to positioning some comfy seating right under one of them. 


Looking through the staircase to the door to the landing and stairs down to the ground floor.


When we lifted the carpet on the landing at the top of staircase to the ground floor, we found the edges of the stairs have been painted green in the distant past and then, when the stringer was repainted more recently, there’s a line of white gloss on top of that. I’m thinking it’s probably like that all the way down. For the time being, the carpet is staying down as I’ve got quite enough to handle redecorating the two rooms for the time being. However my brain is buzzing with ideas of how to make a feature out of it in the future. 



This is a newly formed opening to what will be the ensuite shower room.



Here’s what it looked like when the brickwork was removed to form the walk through.  Goodness that generated a lot of mess!



We haven’t started the ensuite bathroom yet, although the electricity cable has been first fixed in readiness. As you can see, it’s just going into what used to be a small built in wardrobe for the other bedroom on the other side of the wall. MTM currently uses that room as his office. The wardrobe area will be enlarged to make room for the ensuite by taking a bit of space from the other room. Initially we were planning on doing it at the same time as the spare room but when we decided to go up and convert the loft, that took the budget plus we need to move MTM out but he still needed somewhere to work. 

The division MTM manages for his employer has expanded under his expertise and it’s got to the stage where his operation turns over £3m from our spare bedroom. They’ve decided (to our great relief) to rent some offices locally for him to run his commercial building contracts from. That was all supposed to happen in May but fell through. Alternative offices have been found and he’ll be moving in there soon but I’ve had enough disruption for now so I want to get these two rooms sorted before we start knocking about another so that will be put on hold as a future project. Guests will be able to use the main bathroom in the meantime.

All my yarn and other craft supplies along with some furniture from the spare bedroom. are being stored in a rented lock up. I’m desperate to get my yarn back in particular, as well as save that monthly expense so I need to get on. I’ve waffled enough for now, me and the decorating gear will be busy for the rest of this week.