What's flowering ATM

Although its a small thing, our single bunch of mondo grass is in gorgeous bloom at the moment, and it’s something I think can only be truly appreciated close up! We also have a second clump of miniature mondo grass which is flowering as well. These plants are in the ground and form part of the garden of our rented property.

Something else thats flowering at the moment is our eldest chilli plant, whom is also heavily laden with bright red fruit! It’s quite pretty, imho. I caught David looking up the internet yesterday to find out what can you do with recycled pistacio nuts. Tucking into a couple of handfuls of the yummies must have prompted the idea. He found a forum thread discussing it, which was quite funny (sorry, no link). Apparently, you can even put a small piece of water soaked cotton wool in a shell, place a bean sprout seed on it and wait a couple of days. If you have a bunch of these, you can float them in a dish of water as a table centre piece. The display of tiny floating boats, each with its own mini-tree has, apparently, earnt the contributor much praise from guests. How ridiculous! Do you seriously have nothing better to do with those brain cells? How about devoting that intellectual capacity of yours to World Peace? One of the more practical suggestions was to use it as garden mulch, as they can have the appearance of sea shells. So that’s what we did, and because the chilli was looking particularly spectactular at the moment, I decided he deserved it. And there is even more room in there for the rest of the shells… after we eat up the emerald-green nuggets of pistascio! (nom nom nom)

And I can’t forget our garlic chives, who are very happy nowadays and currently in full flower. No seeds as yet though, from what I can see. I checked the internet for images of garlic chives seeds and they will be little black seeds. We are eagerly awaiting the arrival of these new babies so we can plant lots more chives for yumminess!

Also, flowering at the moment is the native grevillea the landlord planted some months ago. Nice, and flushed with colour. How flourid.

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Lucky Ladybug Pincushion

Oh yes, according to the pattern, this here is a Ladybug. As the last project of the day, I had to have another go at it because I had trouble with it the other morning and that … bugged me! After two days of reading crochet patterns, surely I’ll be able to do this.

Well, what I was doing wrong had nothing at all to do with the different crochet languages. Like almost all patterns I’ve read so far, this one is English. After the reading of the last two days, when I came back to this one I found it was very simple, just a small round ball really. What gave me the problem was I thought the “sc 3” in  “sc 2, sc 2 in 1, (sc 3, sc 2 in 1)” meant “three single crochet on one hole” which of course is wrong and was why I ended up with a hyperbolic shape. I don’t know why, but after reading crochet patterns for two days, when I came back to this I saw it simply as “single crochet three stitches each in its own space” lol. It’s good to know my feverish production of small crochet projects over the last two days has helped my poor reading skills to improve.

The pattern called for glueing, felting and attaching, but I did none of that. I simply chain stitched the attennae as part of the chain stitch that goes over the top between the two colours, and used embroidery stitches for the eyes, dots and fine line at the back. A very simple project I’m unlikely to do again unless someone requests it as its a bit fiddly, fussy and not a particularly useful object. It felt like a primary school project to me. What practical use for something like this? Either a pincushion or a little critter for the kid’s guest room. On the other hand, if I made this one out of plarn and filled it will plastic, it could go in the garden. We do need a Lucky Ladybug charm for our garden, to eat up all the nasty bugs that the real ladybugs would normally eat, if our landlords hadn’t poisoned them all away. So that’s where I decided to take the foto, in our garden the next morning. I can sense all the nasty bugs quivering with fear at the prospect of a Ladybug moving in!

Three Pink Hearts

I did up some more hearts for practice, with varying degrees of difficulty but equal in cuteness!

The smallest heart is another go at a very easy heart pattern from Suzie’s Stuff. The first one I did was blue and wonky, so I had another go and this one is much better and very cute. I’m thinking of slipping it in somewhere for good luck, like in David’s wallet or sock drawer!

I thought I could try the square lattice heart by just looking at the picture, without reading the pattern. The change from square to round was trickier than the other heart I did from Drops Design, so I did peek at the pattern. I think my reading is getting a bit better, because I could find my place. I found a small bit of yarn left over from my childhood and used that, still not sure what will become of this heart yet.

The large heart of fans is impressive, still at first I thought I could try it without reading the pattern, but ended up following it which is from Donna’s Crochet Designs. This one was a little more tricky than the others, but very nice. This one might end up in the trials and samples rug, or perhaps I’ll save it for something special like a bag.

Teddy Bear Mary Janes

These orange mary jane slippers are meant to look silly on my purple angel beanie bear! I’m pleasantly surprised these worked out as well as they did. I did not follow a pattern at all, I made these slippers up freestyle. I did this activity to see if I was able to make up something to shape without a pattern. Maybe if I can do this, one day I’ll be able to make my own freestyle socks.

First, I started by making a flat round that was as big as the sole on the teddy’s foot. For this teddy, it took 4 rounds, with the 1st round being 8 sc. These are slightly large and because crochet has some stretch, when I make these again I’ll make them the same size as (not larger than) the foot.

When the sole is done, finish off with a slip stitch then start the next round moving vertical up from the sole and no longer increasing stitches. For these, it took 2 rounds before it was time to do the toe. For the toe I turn, slip stitch and sc across the front, then turn and go back, adding a slip stich in the side as required. It’s a freestyle so I just worked in a stitch as was required to form the platform on top of the toes. For this teddy, they took about 4 or 5 rows of sc. I then did another round along the rest of the shoe and did a couple of extra rows of about 3 sc each at the heel. Then it was time for the ankle strap which was simply a matter of chaining the required length then turning back with sc along the chain. Then I did the other side of the  ankle strap, ending with about 5 chains in a little circle for the button hole. I put the shoes on the teddy to measure where the button should go and then used my tiniest hook to pull some yarn through the button to fasten it.

See? Angel just needed some high fashion shoes before hitting the town with her friend!

Pink Ribbon Toy Shrug

One thing I really want to do is make myself a shrug but I tried a very simple pattern last week and it was epic fail! The large rectangle I made is now being saved, along with the big yellow round thing in the previous post, for what I think I might turn into a big blanket of all mismatched samples and trials. I was thinking, rather than risk wasting more time crocheting up a free shrug pattern from the net that might not turn out, I would trial some by first making miniatures for the soft toys in the kid’s guest room.

This special pink fellow actually lives in our car’s glove box. He was an impulse buy (yes, I do think it is a ‘he’), from the chemist and is a fund raiser for breast cancer research. He has lovely soft fur that’s comforting to hold and play with when we drive the 2 hours to visit my folks. The traffic on the highway is simply madness! The green ribbon in the foto is recycled from a special packet of chocolates that looked like olives brought back from Paris by Dave’s mum on her recent trip to Europe. I thought he looked particularly cute with the cheerful bow, and all the way from Paris no less! Darrrrling, simply devine!! That is one well dressed bear.

I didn’t follow a pattern, I just made it up. To make this little shrug for the breast cancer toy I first made a chain long enough that if made into a circle would fit around his hands. Basically the shape I made is widest in the middle and tapers to the ends. I used a DC and 1ch stitch. The 1st 3 rows of each end have 11 ch sp, the 4th and 4th last rows have 12, the 5th and 5th last rows have 13. I made about 8 rows of 14 ch sp for the wide part in the middle. I chain joined the 3 rows on each end to form sleeves. I also did 2 rows of treble stitches in the inside of the sleeve joins to form chest panels, the 1st row had 3 trebles into the same space (the sleeve join) and the 2nd row had 6 trebles, 2 in each ch sp. I chained up a little tie to make a bow at the front.

Here are some grown up shrugs that I might like to try one day …
http://www.garnstudio.com/lang/en/visoppskrift.php?d_nr=99&d_id=20&lang=en
http://www.garnstudio.com/lang/en/visoppskrift.php?d_nr=111&d_id=25&lang=en
http://www.garnstudio.com/lang/en/visoppskrift.php?d_nr=99&d_id=3&lang=en

A Day of Crochet Trials

I spent the entire day yesterday trying new small crochet projects (except for when I did a quick run to OS with the guild and some pugs for the weekly on my paladin tank, Yulara!) Recording this learning process will be good for me to look back over later, I’m sure!

To start me off, I had a go at this four leaf clover. It looked pretty simple and I figured it could be used as a lucky charm fridge magnet. At the start of the day my purpose was to work on my crochet pattern reading skills, and this one went fine.

I was off to a good start, so I thought to try something a little more tricky with this three layer flower. I followed the large flower pattern and discovered I didn’t know what “bpsc” was. Turns out that’s “back post single crochet” and I learned how to do it by watching the youtube video.

After these successes I thought I would try a little lady bug pattern I saw. It started off with the magic ring, which was great to learn so I can make my start rings small if I wanted. But the lady bug was not working out at all, all the extra stitches formed a type of hyperbolic shape and it reminded me of what I kept getting when I was trying the beanie pattern at crochetspot. Then I remembered that there are two crochet languages, English and American. Crochet Australia has several charts on how stitches, yarns and hooks vary between the two. I also did some reading up on Wikipedia on the history of crochet, which of course was very enlightening. All this made me wonder that that beanie pattern is American, so I went back and tried it again, this time doing English DC instead of SC, and guess what… it worked! But when the ball of yellow yarn I quickly grabbed to try this ran out I thought that I would put in a different colour. I fooled around with some wavy stitches, trying something I learnt in the morning from those little round patterns and made up a stitch (sl st sc hdc 3dc hdc sc). From Smart Knitting-Crocheting I found some example of stitches and chose a wavy fan pattern. The diagram was very easy to read and a good alternative than trying to read a pattern when I wasn’t sure if DC =/= SC !! But my initial row didn’t match so I unwound it and did it again. I thought the pattern would simply continue the beanie, as it was up to the point where the rounds were no longer increasing, but that didn’t happen. It doesn’t quite lie flat either, but this is definately not a beanie. Serve me right for trying to put in fancy stitches! One day I’ll get around to following Rachel’s beanie pattern to complete one, which now I know what I was doing wrong, I’m sure will work just fine. I’ll keep this large flower thingy for another project I’m working on.

Another small project I had open to look at was a dancing shells washcloth pattern at All Free Crafts. It didn’t look too hard so I gave it a go, but my cotton is too thin. A fair few American patterns call for “weight worsted cotton” and all I’ve been able to find out is the Australian equivilant is a 10ply which doesn’t make sense to me.  I think my mum will know, so I’ll ask her next time I speak to her. A new stitch I learnt here was Dc2tog (double crochet two stitches together) and again, I learnt how to do it from a youtube video. I actually unwound this little exercise to reuse the cotton.

My mum gave me several balls of this lovely cotton so I was determined to do something with it and tried one of the many patterns she gave me. This square motif was easy enough and if I made 38 of them, I could make them into a top. I wonder if I’ll get around to doing that one day …. lol! If I went to that much trouble, I would want to be sure to wear the thing!

I have lots of pictures of crochet hearts bookmarked to try, including some from the Drops website. I didn’t follow the pattern for this Christmas heart decoration, I just looked at the picture and did it very quickly. I simply SC a 6 x 6 row square, then 5 trebles into the middle 3rd space, then ch st around the edge. Easy as! Lol, more crochet junk to work out what to do with ….

After I did the square heart, I set to work on making a toy shrug. Now that was a full day’s worth of work! /satisfied sigh

Hardest Heart Yet

This is the most challenging heart I’ve crocheted yet as I found following the pattern very difficult!

Using the pattern at Inspired Crochet Design, I sometimes had to guess what was meant by the pattern. I don’t know if the pattern is flawed, or if it is my lack of skill in reading patterns that made it difficult, but I think the latter is more likely! I unravelled the 3rd row a couple of times before I had to guess what the pattern meant. I didn’t know what hdc was and this was the first time I remember seeing it. I learnt how to do this “half double crochet” stitch from watching this youtube video.

Somehow, it works out in the end looking somewhat like it was meant to! Yay for me!! … lolzz

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