Hook ’em in

Last Friday I was lucky enough to spend a few hours with two of my oldest and dearest friends. We don’t get that opportunity very often because one of us lives a good two hour journey away. We had decided to have a bit of a ‘crafternoon’, indulging ourselves in a bit of ‘hooking’. Now, that was all very well for me and the Out-of-Town friend, because we already knew how. The challenge was to teach our other pal.

Luckily for us, she’s very clever (got a PhD, you know) and picked it up quickly. After just an hour or so she was merrily making trebles in the round. The fact that her very first round bit of crochet was a bit wobbly was entirely my fault for getting her to make the wrong number of stiches. Ooops.

I was getting to grips with making teeny-tiny hearts. The pattern is by Lucy at Attic 24 and comes with the usual, beautifully photographed tutorial if you want to have a go yourself.

As you may be able to see from the photo, I kept on making them while I took Son Number One to his swimming lesson. I suspect the other mums think I’m slightly mad sitting there crocheting away. I usually get a visit from one of their little girls who wants to know what I’m up to. Maybe one day she’ll want to have a go?

On Saturday afternoon, as the snow began to fall, my clever friend and I took out our hooks again. In between supervising our children we managed to make a bit more progress. She was really getting the hang of it. So much so, that on Sunday evening I got a text photo of a completed crochet flower.

I couldn’t resist popping round on Monday night to see her first completed project in the flesh and to inspect the yarn she’d bought that day. Soon we were working on a mini project together; a set of four teeny tiny hearts. By the end of the evening, they had been made, embellished with buttons and added to an engagement card for my friend’s colleague.

Starting the first round…

A lovely stash of buttons from ‘Kitties Closet’

A useful set of stamps from Stampin’ Up

Adding colour to the stamp

The finished article

I’m pleased to say, I seem to have a new convert to crochet. Always a joy to recruit another happy hooker!

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Give us a twirl then

If you’ve read the posts at the start of this blog you will know that one of the first projects I aired here was a twirly-wirly scarf. It was started quite some time ago and forgotten until I stumbled across Attic 24 and was inspired to take up my crochet hook again. I had seen some yarn in Boyes that I really liked the colour of but wasn’t sure if I should go ahead and buy it. Was I being too indulgent? If I bought it would I turn it into a scarf in time to give it as a Christmas present? Crikey, you would think I was spending a million pounds, not five.

Thanks to some encouragement from Pam at hippy hat – take it from here (her blog) I decided to take the plunge.

Here is the start. I just HATE doing the first row after making the chains. It’s really tricky and although I love this yarn, the mixture of colours in it made it a bit tricky to find the right spot to put the hook into.

It’s worth persevering though because it soon starts to do it’s twirly, wirly thing.

Mmmmmm, love those colours.

Well, after sneaking in a bit of hooking here and there I did manage to finish it in time for Christmas. Not only that but I also whipped up a matching hat and had about 10 inches of yarn left at the end. How about that for good luck. Alas, I didn’t remember to take a picture of the finished articles so you’ll just have to trust me. At that point I was so behind with the Christmas wrapping that I didn’t have a moment to indulge in fancy photography.

I’ve just been to visit my Godmother, the recipient of the scarf and hat combo. What do you know, she’s only knitting Aunty Betty a sweater in the exact same yarn that she chose independently, before Christmas. Great minds think alike.

Inspiration

The last couple of weeks have been all about crochet. A couple of weeks ago we went to visit the in-laws and I remembered that I still had a crochet scarf under construction. Visiting the family generally seems to be a good opportunity to get a bit of crafting done. Grandma is happy to keep the children entertained and my lovely Father-in-law has very different taste in TV watching to me. So I got out the trusty yarn and hook and settled in to add some more to my twirly-wirly scarf. Unfortunately the yarn ran out.

I was a little bit frustrated but not terribly surprised. I should really have known better than to make it so long in the first place. I started the first twirly-wirly scarf last Christmas day. My mum bought me the wool and pattern from Bobbins in Whitby and gave it to me for Christmas. As I was very pregnant at the time it was a lovely present. It was something to keep me entertained and sitting down. I quickly got addicted to creating my first bit of crochet for a long time. I was gratified to discover that crochet is like riding a bike. You never really forget how to do it. The scarf was complete before my baby put in a slightly early appearance on December 29th . However, when the scarf was finished I was a little disappointed with how short it was and went back to read the pattern. I soon realised that the length could be easily adjusted.

Next time Mum had a little trip to Whitby in her caravan she generously brought back two more balls of wool in a different shade. This time I made twice the number of chains on the foundation row. This was not going to be some twee little neck adornment. No, this time I meant business. I was creating a proper scarf. Like I said, I really should have known better. I should have realised that I would need more yarn. But, my crochet brain was not in good shape. It’s been a long time with lots of sleepless nights in between. More wool was required.

With no prospect of a trip to Whitby in sight I had to take to the internet to source another ball of wool. I was a little bit peeved with the first site I found. It had what I wanted but was going to charge me more for postage than for the yarn itself! £5 for posting a 50g ball of wool!!!!! Fortunately I found an online shop that could supply me with what I needed (Rico Fashion Tasai Aran in red).

In the meantime, I had found the fabulous ‘Attic 24’ blog, via Housewife Confidential’.  As soon as I had clapped eyes on the colours and patterns I just had to get going with something more creative than a scarf. Something that would allow me to choose the colours, not some fancy dyer in Italy. Initially I thought about starting a blanket for our bedroom. My husband often complains that his toes get cold, peeking out under the duvet. Lucy at Attic 24 has so many lovely blankety inspirations on her site that it seemed a good idea. I rushed out to my local Boyes store (brilliant shop – sells everything) and picked some colours that I thought would look good with my stripy Laura Ashley curtains. Then I paused. What kind of blanket should I go for? A ripple seemed like too much of a commitment for a first project and anyway, would that just be too many stripes in one room. I didn’t really want something too ‘holy’ as I could imagine my children poking and picking at it and probably tripping over it too. Decisions, decisions.

Luckily as I was wandering around at Attic 24, enjoying the view, I found a tutorial for Christmas bauble decorations. Perfect. Quick to make and with endless combinations of colours, buttons and beads. Bliss. I was ‘hooked’. And can you believe it, this has been the week that my babykins has decided that a nice long sleep in the morning is just what he needs. Joy oh joy. An hour to just do a bit of crochet. It must have restored some of my housewifely balance because I have even done a pretty good job of keeping the place tidy. The floor has been regularly cleaned and I even managed to dust the children’s bedroom! I still have mountains of paperwork to sort though. Maybe next week.