Verb: pootle
poo-t(u)l To move in a leisurely unhurried way,
with no real purpose

Monday, 27 October 2014

Five Autumn Happies ...

Not a lot going on round at ours lately, but it's the little things that matter isn't it,
and these are the ones that have made me happy this weekend....
Finding the perfect inspiration for my next blanket as I was flicking through the latest copy of
I'll just zoom in  a bit so you can see what I mean....

.... there it is,
the scrumptious blanket at the bottom of the pile.
How could I not fall in love with it when it has so many pom-poms to finish it off !
Deciding on the perfect Autumny colour to make the blanket in -
its going to be BIG and its got to be SNUGGLY.
Enjoying sitting making one pom-pom after another,

and watching the pile grow.

Spending a couple of hours hooking up a few poppies for family and friends,

all given with a reminder not to forget to put some money in

I found the pattern here at
Discovering these little beauties tucked away in a quiet corner of the garden,

too gorgeous to leave out in the Autumn winds.

I wish I could somehow send you the smell,
its currently filling my kitchen,
a little reminder of sunnier days.
What were your happies this weekend ?
Were they big things or little ones ?

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

I ♥ Hearts ...

 When I get near to completing a blanket I like to add one last finishing touch to personalise it, especially if it's a gift for someone, and it's usually either a little tag or a ribbon.
 I've sometimes added little crochet hearts but so far these have only been flat ones. 
As I was getting near to completing Immi's Uni blanket a couple of weeks ago,
 I decided that I wanted to try something a bit different,
so I set about looking for a pattern for a 3D heart.
This is maybe rather a grand way of putting it as it sounds as though,
in true fairy tale style,
I set off on an adventure to seek out the long forgotten crochet pattern Queen,
hidden away in a dark cave somewhere far, far away over the crystal mountains.
In reality all I actually did was Google '3D crochet heart pattern'
- and up it came !
Ta-dah !
So, you might think that this is the end of my tale ....
But No !
Because once you start making these teeny little shapes of 3D gorgeousness
you just won't be able to stop.
Before you know it you'll be rummaging through all those ends of balls of yarn and
hearts of all colours will appear.
Apart from adding them to crochet blankets the possibilities are endless ...
from little tiny key-rings for daughters at home,

to key-rings packed up and posted off to daughters at Uni,
and that's before you've even started on the heart bunting !

There's bedroom heart bunting,

and hall mirror heart bunting.
 And are they easy ?
Soooooo easy !
They're the perfect little half hour fillers when you're waiting for the
dinner to cook
or for that last crochet hit of the day.
Here's how ......
To start off I watched this video from YouTube
 (How to Crochet a Valentine Puffy Heart - Small Crochet Geek ).  
I watched it a couple of times and then wrote the pattern down, as I found this was
much easier to refer back to than hunting through the video for the right bit.
The pattern works up to make a small, chunky heart and whilst this is very gorgeous I added a few tweaks to the pattern to make a slightly more shaped heart that tapers down towards the bottom.
Here are the notes I wrote down from the video, with my very little additions:
Chain 3.
Join with a slip stitch.
Chain 1.
Work 9 DC in to the ring.

Round 2: 2 DC in each stitch, 18 stitches.
Round 3: DC in each stitch, 18 stitches.
Round 4: DC in each stitch, 18 stitches.
Slip stitch in to the first stitch, cast off.

Make a second circle.

Join the 2 circles together across 5 stitches. 
( You now have a teeny, tiny Madonna bra ! )

 I found I needed to watch this bit a few times on the video as it took me a
 couple of attempts to get it right as the joining stitches form a kind of seam
and this needs to be on the inside of the finished heart.

Once you get the hang of it though it all makes perfect sense,

and you should end up with a little seam of 5 stitches on the inside

and a neat little indent between the two circles on the outside.

That's definitely the trickiest bit out of the way - its plain sailing from
here and you'll be finished in no time now !

Round 5: DC all the way around the heart, with the round being completed when you get
 back to the central point where you started.
Round 6: DC all the way around, decreasing at each side.
(If you watch this bit on the video its basically just crocheting 3 stitches together.)
Round 7: DC all the way around, decreasing at each side.

After I've done Round 7 I find this is a good time to turn the heart inside
 out and finish off the ends.

I use the two starting ends to carefully pull up and close any little gap that there may be
and I also thread it into a needle and do a couple of running stitches around the top
 circle of stitches and again gently pull to close up.

I use the finishing end from the first circle to thread through the centre of the
 5 stitch seam to make a little hanging loop.

Pick up the last stitch from Round 7 and continue.

Round 8, 9 and 10: DC all the way round, decreasing at the sides.

After Round 10 I stuff  each side of the heart carefully.
Round 11: DC all the way round, decreasing at each side,
AND also in the centre front and centre back.
( This is my adaptation to get a more tapering shape to the finished heart. )

Rounds 12 and 13: DC all the way round, continuing to decrease at the sides
and the centre front and back.
You will soon get to the point where you can join the last stitches together to make
 the finishing point of the heart, just remember to put the last remaining stuffing
 in before the hole gets too small.

Cast off, and using a needle thread the last end off .
Don't you love it !
Beth is very happy with her bedroom bunting

and I am completely in love with my hall mirror bunting,
with a little extra addition of some jingly bells.

Happy hearting everyone.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Ticking off those things on the list ...

Isn't it always pleasing when things that have been on your to do list for some time finally get done ?
It has to be said that none of the things on my list were likely to save the planet or make the National newspapers, but nevertheless they are jobs well done.
I have been making a blanket for some time now that has just been rumbling along in the background whenever I have had a bit of time. I'm sure it has taken longer than it should as with puppy Otto stopping all play, crochet on this scale has only been able to take place with me tucked away on my bed, in my room.
And talking of scale this has to be the biggest blanket I have made so far. Its the same pattern as my super quick blanket but this one has been made to King size measurements and is truly humongous !
A friend had asked me to make it for her and it has been my first ever paid commission.
I remember Annie from Knitsofacto discussing the pros and cons of this once and as much as I love crocheting the hours away I'm not sure I would do it again.
It puts a completely different slant on things and I have found myself feeling under pressure to get it finished promptly, and that was after much troublesome worry and thought over costings and so on. In the end my friend bought all the wool and we just agreed a price for labour between us.
The best bit, as always, was the border. I love the way this suddenly turns a great big bit of non-descript crochet into a neatly finished blanket.

Nothing complicated, just a ruffle made by working three trebles into the back loop of
each stitch, all the way around.
 Now that it is done I am very pleased with how it has turned out
and once tied up in a ribbon it was safely delivered to its new owner.


The other good job done was a spot of extreme chutney making, from 30lbs of apples !
Each time I went out into the garden the apples seemed to be staring at me, quietly reminding me that if I didn't get a wiggle on they'd all end up either pecked away by the birds or bruised and battered as windfalls.
Fortunately there were two extra pairs of hands to help with the peeling, coring and chopping and 
for an entire day our house was full of the smell of pickling spice and sweet apples. It quietly bubbled away for several hours, getting darker and thicker until it looked well, chutneyish !


Lots of jars were filled and I have been made to promise to not give it all away this year.
Last years chutney lasted us exactly one week, over Christmas, and it was only then we realised every single other jar had been dispatched as presents to friends and family.

We managed to let this years batch mature for ooh, at least 2 hours before the first jar was
 opened for a sneaky taste.

The other job that had been niggling away at the back of my mind was what I was going to do for the five table arrangements that I had been asked to do for our village Harvest Lunch.
I really wanted to something that incorporated some Autumn leaves

and my first idea was to use PVA glue to paste some on the outside of jam jars.
That sounds so simple doesn't it ?
But, half an hour later after battling with some very unbendable leaves and lots of very sticky, slimy jam jars I gave up on that idea.
So, moving swiftly on to Plan B ...

Leaves, a hole punch and some string.

Definitely a whole lot quicker and much less messy,

but still suitably autumnal.

Of course, the only problem with coming to the end of a list of jobs is that another one is bound to have already started - but ooh, have I got some exciting things ticking away ....
How are all of your to do lists coming along ?