Monday, 24 February 2014

Daffy Down Dilly

Its St David's Day on Saturday next here in Wales and I've been busy with my crochet hook and our national flower - the daffodil.  When I was little we were more likely to make paper leeks, the other emblem of Wales.  They were easy - a roll of white paper crayoned green at the top, fringed carefully with a scissors and attached to your jumper with a safety pin.  We made them in school and there was usually an Eisteddfod too. 

I don't know whether its coincidence but the Macmillan Cancer Support charity, whose emblem is also the daffodil, usually has a fund raising period at this time of year - is it just in Wales?  I don't know.  However a couple of people asked whether I would be making daffodils following on from my Remembrance Sunday poppy making marathon last year.  And I thought why not.   I've made about 30 so far, which will make a nice little sum for the charity if they are all sold.

And luckily the earliest daffs in the garden have decided its time to come out too - always a joyful sight.  It won't be long before every town and village in the UK is decorated with daffodils on verges and roundabouts but the first in my garden are always special and are duly recorded with my camera.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Nordic/FairIsle Shawl Finished!

I've finished my Nordic Shawl - I was hoping to finish it during our short break away two weeks ago but it didn't happen.  I found the shawl pattern on Annette's gorgeous blog My Rose Valley and it seems to have become rather an obsession with many crocheters.  I'm a bit obsessed myself and am already planning my next shawl.

The original pattern uses double knit but I was determined I was not going to buy yarn for my shawl as my stash mountain is threatening to take over my small craft room!  But I didn't have enough of anything suitable to be the main colour, ie 250gms.  So I decided to make my shawl using this vintage 2ply fair isle wool I bought some years ago in a charity shop.  Its a lovely silvery grey - but of course is much finer than double knit!

So I had to add lots of extra rows and stitches to the pattern - which in case you need to know, was absolutely no problem at all apart from it taking a lot more time to complete my shawl.  The colours for the striped panel were also skeins of various 2ply and 3ply yarns I've collected.

So I'm rather pleased with my shawl - its a cosy extra layer to put on when I'm sitting still crafting either over my shoulders or on my knees, and I'm very glad I went with the vintage yarn option.  My next shawl will be in double knitting however and I have a summery version in mind. 

Do take a look at Annette's blog - even if you are not a fan of crochet it will make your mouth water!

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Last Minute Valentines

We're battening down the hatches here in North Wales as the storm rages outside.  No one wants to venture out unless absolutely unavoidable!  Happily I'm in no danger of floods, but if you can't get to the shops to buy a Valentine's rose for your special other you might be able to make one of my pom pom roses (or even a bunch) instead - yes, pom pom mania is still going strong in my house!

Hopefully you'll have everything you need at hand or something very similar.  I used a Clover pom pom maker and dark red acrylic yarn for my pom pom - you can use the old cardboard ring method  (video here) or even just your hands and a scissors - here's a great video showing you how.  You can even make them in bulk - Flax & Twine show how here - I haven't tried it but this method looks like fun!

Once you have your pom pom find a wooden kebab stick (really cheap in the supermarket) or a twig from the garden and push the pointy end through the centre of  the pom pom.  I cut the sharp point off the kebab stick once it was through.  I used a hot glue gun to put a blob on the end of the stick and pushed the yarn strands into it to attach.  I threaded on stamped office tags and tied green raffia under the pom pom to represent leaves.  You could use felt or even just green card to make leaves and hand write a message instead.

Well the electricity has just gone off so I'll finish and find some candles now before the laptop battery dies.  Hope you are safe where you are and keep warm!


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