Thursday, 29 August 2019

Fire and Ice Shawl Pattern Review


This pattern makes a lovely shawl, I used the recommended yarn Lion Brand Shawl in a Ball metallic. "Moonstone" shade.

It is beautiful to work with and although described as an aran yarn it is much thinner, works more like a double knit to me. It is cotton and acrylic with added metallic thread.

I used a 6mm crochet hook to get the recommended gauge.

The pattern is by Marie Segares and is easy to follow, a free version is available on Marie's blog or you can buy a pdf ready made copy. Full details on Ravelry here:

I did get a little confused with the instructions - for instance at the end of some rows it says "(Decrease 1 st to an even number of sts)" I thought this meant that you then decreased at the end of the row but what it is actually doing is just confirming what you have done in that row, you've decreased one stitch

After reading some comments on Ravelry I understood it better and I think once you get into actually working something it makes more sense than just reading a pattern. 

It is worked from side to side, starting at one point, working to a wide centre then decreasing down to the other side point.

One thing I did not like was the idea of making a separate small circle and stitching it on to the end to match the start. This is simply because I really hate sewing/joining :)

So, once I had come to the end instead of cutting my yarn I slip stitched over the the other side to make a small loop and into this I crocheted 6 trebles (dc in US terms) and weaved in the end to make it into a circle. It looks fine and certainly matches the start and any discrepancies, if there are any,  are hidden by the multi colour of the yarn. That's the best thing about multi colour yarns, they hide a multitude of sins. :)

I did work the edging stitches, someone said they didn't bother as they thought it did not look right as the colours changed along the row due to the yarn changes, but I think mine looked lovely and was happy with it. It's whatever suits you that matters.

I would highly recommend this pattern.

Happy crocheting!



Monday, 26 August 2019

Jordan Sleeveless Pineapple Top Pattern Review


I love how this crochet pineapple pattern top has come out.

The pattern is easy to follow with well written and diagram instructions.

I made the L/XL size and it fits perfectly - I am a UK 12/14 size.

I used Drops Safran yarn which is 100% cotton 4ply, I used the Denim Blue shade.

I used a 4.00mm crochet hook

It is a paid for pattern available via Ravelry, well worth the money.
I did add a few extra rounds around the neck as it seemed very low cut.

I love how the pineapple design shows up if you wear a neutral colour beneath it. It looks better with something under it, rather than just your underwear but youngesters could probably get away with it! :)

I also like the pointed drop edges at each side which gives a lovely floaty look, much better than a straight finished.

Once you have made the yolk section you work from the top down, all in the round, all the way down to the bottom so if you wanted it would be possible to add more rows to make it longer. 

This also means there are no side seams to sew YAY!

 It might look a complicated design but once you get into the row repeats you begin to see how it comes together and can remember what stitches to do. The main thing is to add stitch markers at each side so you know where to increase as that is what gives the flare.

Happy crocheting!



Sunday, 18 August 2019

Knitted Cat Pattern Review


I saw this pattern for a knitted cat on Ravelry and as I just adore cats I couldn't resist having a go.

I thought I would share my journey and experience in case you want to knit a cat yourself.

The pattern is by Claire Garland and can be found on Ravelry:

So to begin..... I looked at the recommended yarn and realised I could neither afford or justify spending nearly £30 on yarn to make a toy cat :(

So I popped up to my local yarn shop and there found a lovely variegated yarn by Cygnet yarns, called Prism. The colours looked lovely in a variety of browns, creams and blacks. Perfect to look a little bit like my own cat.

The pattern uses several strands of 4ply and lace yarns worked together so I hoped a double knit would suffice, if not it will just come out a different size to the pattern. I bought one ball (100g) and so far I think it will be enough. I also bought 100g of a plain beige DK "Baby Pato" for the muzzle and paws but now having started the pattern I realise maybe a smaller ball would be enough or scraps from my stash, but never mind the rest will come in for something else. In total I spent just under £5.00. I still have to buy eyes but have found some on Etsy for around £2.50 for a pair of cats eyes.

I'm using 4mm knitting needles.

The pattern is really well written and I am now at the back legs and have had no problems at all understanding what to do. There are very, very detailed instructions and lots of photos, plus video help but I've not come to that part yet.

My advice would be to read through the first few pages and the special stitch instructions before you get started.

I think if you can get through the first part you won't have any problems at all.

I think the muzzle is the trickiest part, not that it is difficult or hard to understand, it just needs some patience and dexterous hands to twist and turn the work. This is my muzzle completed.

Another tip if you decide to use a different yarn to that suggested in the pattern and it is a variegated one, make sure when rejoining the yarn that you find the same colour within the ball, even if it means winding off some of the other colours. As you can see above I have a definite line between the dark brown and the beige colours - I should have found the same brown and rejoined that, not the beige. Never mind I'm sure it will look fine when done, I might even sew a few long and short stitches to blend it in and break up the line when finished.

Here you can see the head (minus its ears) and the shoulders. The colours spread softly so I'm happy with how it is working out.

Here the body with start of back legs is beginning to take shape, you can see how this time I rejoined the yarn for the legs by finding the colour match and you cannot see the join.

I am pressing on with this cat. Knitting isn't my favourite pastime these days, I much prefer crochet,  but I wanted it so much that I'm prepared to do it.

Update 22nd August 2019.

Well we now have a full body! I changed my mind and decided to use the beige for the inner back legs and will also use it for the underside tummy. Again the pattern was easy to understand and as you can see we have a cat, albeit flat :)

The back legs fold in so that the inner beige is inside and joins with the under body colour. Just the ears, belly and eyes to do now.

Here is the back leg folded, you can see how it now forms a ticker thigh with narrow legs.
The front legs fold the same

You then knit in the belly by picking up stitches, don't be worried if it looks too small, you need to stretch and it it around the body edges:

The eyes require 15mm toy cats eyes, however it was bank holiday here and I was so desperate to get it finished that I made my own using 10mm toy safety eyes in black which I already had. I then crocheted a small circle by making a magic ring into which I crochet 8 dc (sc in US terms) then joined the round. I didn't pull the magic circle too tight so that I could put the stem of the eye into it. See following photos.

As part of the eye making process you knit a square 7sts x 7 rows and fold in half to form a rectangle. I  had trouble understanding this part as it talked about a 'boat' shape but after chatting with someone else who is making it I found I was indeed doing it correctly. (Thanks J)

Here is one eye in position:

Now both:

Now came the making up. I got a bit stumped in one part where it talked about using vach stitch to join some pieces, after a bit of googling and not finding anything I realised it was actually a typo and should be back stitch! LOL

I don't think I got the face right but I'm happy with how it come out.

I love how he has turned out but in hindsight would have made it in all variegated yarn and used only the beige for the paws which had been my original intention. I'm disappointed in the thickness of the yarns, they are both supposed to be double knit but the plain beige is much thicker than the other and it did have an effect on how it sewed together. The Prism variegated yart is more like a 4 ply.

I only stuffed the head and feet really well, the body is fairly well stuffed but only enough to keep it's shape allowing for some movement in positioning the cat, the legs were very sparsely stuffed.

I love the attention to detail on the cat, the little ear flaps just like a cat has, the little mouth and whisker pouches, knee bends too. So much work has gone into this pattern, it is unbelievable.

The pattern is really well written and you can't go wrong if you take it step by step. There are also lots of videos of individual steps for making up.

Well done Claire you are amazing.

I do hope you have a go at this cat, I won't say it is easy but if you like a challenge then go for it.

Would I make it again? Maybe. To be honest knitting isn't my favourite craft, I much prefer crochet and it is rare for me to do any pattern twice anyway. But I love cats and just had to make him :)

Happy knitting!



Thursday, 25 July 2019

Yarn the Sheep free pattern from Yarnspirations. Pattern review


The pattern is free which is brilliant. It makes a lovely cuddly baby cocoon which fastens up the front and has a textured stitch which looks like the wool of a sheep.

Two ears on the hood and a pair of feet finish off the lovely little Lamb baby nest.

I did have a few problems with the pattern. I'm sure I have read it correctly but it just would not come right.

First there was a mistake for the buttonhole edging on the front it says to use MC (main colour, which is white) but it should be the grey contrast (A) 

Then when making up the pattern says "sew buttons to back and raglan button edgings" but there are no instructions to add a button edging to the back, the only instructions are for the 30 stitches down the front raglan on the sleeve and the button hole bands on the front.

This is how it looked once complete, nowhere to sew the buttons except on the actual back piece:

So I added my own button band to the back in grey by crocheting the 30 stitches down the front raglan as per the pattern but I didn't turn,  I continued down the back edge (around 35 stitches) then turned and worked the 5 rows.

This was a bit of a nightmare because I had already sewn it all together so had to undo the sleeves and in doing so accidentally cut one of the stitches so had to make the whole sleeve again:(

Never mind, it all came good in the end and I am really pleased with it. This is the back band looked, much nicer to sew the buttons on there:

Perfect gift for any new baby and a fun item too, baby is bound to turn a few heads. 

The bobbly fleece looks is super:

The pattern can be found free on Ravelry:

Happy crocheting!



Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Selling my handmade crafts, knitted and crochet on Etsy

Wow! Has it really been 6 months since my last post? Where on earth does the time go? I must get more of the things I've made listed.

Well I've been so busy just lately, I looked in my craft cupboard and found there were so many things that I had made that were just sitting there I decided to try to sell them and raise money for a support group I am involved with.

I had a look at Etsy with a view to selling and decided to set up a shop.
You can find it here:

I'm selling mainly shawls and scarves at the moment but there are also a few other things like baby clothes and teddies.

If you fancy having a go at selling on Etsy yourself and would like 40 free listings to get you started - YES 40 FREE then use this link:

If you do buy anything - thank you so much for helping our support group.



Thursday, 20 December 2018

Carol Singing Amigurumi Mice

Fell in love with these mice the first time I saw them and decided to make three, not for blind mice! but for a carol singing trio.

The pattern is free from Sharon at Amigurumi to Go. Thanks Sharon x

An easy pattern to follow but I must admit after making three bodies, three heads, six arms, six ears and three tails I couldn't be bothered making six legs! So I hit on this idea:

I cut three circles of card crosswise from a loo roll, about half an inch high and glued them to a piece of card. These were going to hold the bottom ends of the mice so they stood up without falling over.

I then covered these and the card with acrylic toy stuffing to hide them, you could use cotton wool.

I made a lantern free hand by just crocheting a tube, stuffing it and surface crocheting a few lines to suggest glass panels. The lantern holder was a flexible drinking straw crocheted over. This I glued to the base of one of the mice.

The music stand was again made free hand, a rectangle of crochet for the music and a shorter straw for the stand.

I'm so pleased with it, everyone loves it and it is a lovely Christmas decoration.

Happy crocheting!



Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Nativity Crochet Figures Set Amigurumi

I wanted to make a Nativity Set and came across this pattern from 5 Little Monsters:

It is a FREE pattern - thank you for that Erica! - I found it a really easy pattern to follow, it was very detailed in it's instructions.

I didn't make the animals but did make Three Kings, these were made using the Joseph pattern and using a variety of bright yarns - I made up a few hat designs and a beard for one of them. Each is holding a gift, again I just made up a few shapes and added some gold thread.

For the weighted bases I cut out discs of plastic from the backs of those small notebooks you can buy as it was more rigid than any card that I had. I also sewed a small stitch through the centre of the disc to the base of the figure, to stop it moving about.

For the actual weights I filled those small plastic money bags that you get from the bank with gravel, folded over the top flap and then wrapped sellotape around to secure it and make sure the gravel could not come out. I then packed stuffing around the weight.

The figures stand approximately 8" high for the tallest.

The pattern does not give instructions for any features and this looks fine but I did decide to add just eyes - I did a half moon line in thin thread, which gives a closed eye, almost reverent look I thought.

I used lots of oddments of yarn from my stash, mainly DK or 4 ply and a 3.5mm crochet hook. 

It took me a whole year to make, not because it was hard or complicated but simply because I started in January 2018 and then kept stopping to do other things during the Spring and Summer, finally finishing it just in time for Christmas 2018! 

I sold it at a charity event raising money for a charity I work for :) I'm really happy that it was bought by a good friend of mine and now adorns her Christmas decorations.

Hope you have a go, it was great fun to make.

Happy crocheting!