Monday, 30 May 2011

A yarn

The yarn of the ever increasing cushion cover

Always willing to try something new I thought I'd try to crochet some starbursts. So with my 4.00 hook and Twilleys Freedom Sincere organic cotton I set off with the intention of making a cushion cover. First there were five, then twenty and then thirty. I wanted to finish them with cream and so chose Sublime's onion shade because the buttery cream gave the squares real warmth.

Nobody ever warns you about how addictive crochet can be. And that's where my troubles started. I got carried away and decided to make a blanket.

The Sublime organic cotton soon ran out. Originally bought during a sale at John Lewis I thought it would be a simple task of ordering more. I phoned up my local John Lewis - all sold and and no they couldn't order any because it had been discontinued. After two days scouring the Internet I finally gave up. Out of all the sites Knit and Sew had been fantastic and so had Bobby Davidson. Neither of them had it in stock but checked and doubled checked to make sure. 

Then in desperation I phoned Sublime. Yes, the shade had been discontinued but have I tried English Yarns? I phoned them up and, oh deep joy, they had it in stock. I ordered four, enough to finish the blanket.

After sewing it up I decided the blanket needed a border but dare I risk it? I put another order in and it arrived the following day.

                                                   And here's the finished blanket,

The moral of the story - be prepared! Don't ever start anything if you haven't got enough material.

Now I've got so much Sublime left over that I might just make a cushion cover after all.

Sunday, 29 May 2011


I know it's a long standing problem with blogger but I can't see my followers either. I've looked at all the threads, emptied cookies, done all the things that people have suggested (but not all at the same time) and I still can't see you.

I want to stay positive and not resort to wordpress or tumblr. A whole new learning experience - again.

If you do follow, and you don't want to stay anon, send me a comment so that I know who you are. Now that I can receive them again!

Rants over.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend.

No Comment!

I know there are those of you who've been having trouble with comments on bloggerrrr. I've had a particularly frustrating week with it.

The demands of etsy have kept me pinned to the computer all week. Photographing items, loading them on flickr first to see if they look half decent, trying to run some sort of business - haven't got there yet. All of this with poor internet connection.

Really, if I see that circle of death and the flashing EXPLORER NOT RESPONDING one more time I'm going to ..... go back to my day job!

Fed up with having to constantly sign back in, I'd clicked 'Keep me signed in' on all my sites, cleared out all cookies and then - mayhem!

I couldn't sign in to blogger, but then my blog came up but with the 'sign in' still in the corner. Everytime I did anything, back to sign in. I couldn't leave comments. Couldn't receive comments. My draft blog published even though I had scheduled it for when I'd finished.

Last night, back to the same old thing. I'd just got back from a birthday party.

Note to self -

Vodka and blogger are a lethal combination. Don't drink and blog!

It makes you feel stabby!

It's here I have to thank Marilyn, room on the left. She'd posted that she'd had problems too. Simple solution. 'When it asks you to sign in unclick the keep me signed in.'

I gave it a go. The sign in page came up. Can you believe this? It told me I had the wrong user/password combo. Tried and tried.

I had to reset my password. Everytime I clicked my email link to reset my password the connection dropped. Four times! Grrrrrrrr

Reset it using my original password. Thought "This will never work". Signed in. Yeah!

I sent Marilyn a thank you note. She sent me a comment back.

All's well. For the moment.

Am I alone? Does anybody else find blogger help unhelpful?

I always do a Google search. There are some good, non blogger, video uploads by individuals pitched at the right level for people like me - recovering bloggerholics!


I lost my first blog and never did find it!

Friday, 27 May 2011

Mahatma Gandi

It's not every day I find myself quoting Gandi but, as it's Friday, here goes,

"There is no beauty in the finest cloth if it makes hunger and unhappiness."

Good isn't it? I wish I'd said it. Even if I had nobody would be quoting me. I came across it the other day here;

It was in a sample pack of organic wadding.

I've searched for organic wadding for a long time. It's about, but at ridiculous prices in the UK. American firms stock it but the cost of shipping pushes the price up to UK levels. Not much use if you're trying to get a business off the ground. I'd almost given up when I did one last search and, thank you Google, I found it.

Not in America or some exclusive, expensive, supplier in the UK. No. In Wales, of all places. Machynlleth. Known to the locals as Mach. Somewhere I used to drive through frequently in my previous life.

I sent them an email. They sent me a sample - perfect. I ordered a roll and it came the next day. Efficiency!

I've been so caught up with the fruitless demands of Etsy that I hadn't opened it. To tell you the truth I've been I little bit scared of it.

The other night I left a comment on Arcady's site. In the comment was a slightly, disparaging remark about her corn snake. I don't really like snakes. That night I had a dream. I dreamt I was opening up my lovely organic wadding and there was a snake inside it. My own fault,

1)  I should have opened up my parcel way before now. Procrastinating again.

2) I should have been nicer about Arcady's snake. I'm sure she loves it.

3) Get treatment for my phobia!

Today has been fine and dry and I felt brave. A good day for opening up a parcel outside. I couldn't do it inside - the snake might escape!

Armed with a pair of scissors and two trusty cats I opened it up. Guess what? No snake. Just a roll of lovely sumptuous organic wadding wrapped up in parchment paper. Parchment paper. Not plastic. How cool is that? Mahatma would be proud.

It also came with its own certification which is something you need if you want Soil Association registration.

Thank you Phil and everybody at Organic Cotton . They're lovely people who send you lovely things. But not snakes!

(Personally I blame Arcady)

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Stitchery Dooo

Philip Morgan's artwork has been gracing Cardiff's streets but you might not be aware of it. Cardiff Skateboard Club's posters are his. His 'Box Man' is legendary. He also designs for Crayon Skateboards.

I love his bird designs . I think they would make great sewing projects. His owls , in particular, have real character. We were chatting one day and he was really keen to come up with a few ideas. Original designs drawn on a grid - perfect.

I knew I had some 14 count grid paper somewhere so went off to search for it. It's been a while since I did any cross stitch so everything was packed away. We moved house about 15 years ago and I know I haven't done any since then. Rummaging, I came across these.

I must have enjoyed doing them at the time. I made plenty! They will now need to be washed, rebacked and framed.

Would I do them now?

Probably not. They're a little bit twee for my tastes now but there is an endearing quality about these Penelope kits. I really like the little houses. It must have been what attracted me to them in the first place!

Monday, 23 May 2011


I want to share another addiction of mine. It makes me sound as if I have OCD. I haven't, honestly.
This one started long ago and because of that reason it will be difficult to quit. I grew up in Wales where, as you know, it rains - a lot. Paraphrasing Rhod Gilbert, "I was 12 before I realised I could take off my cagoule". Rain kept us indoors and off the mountains. It meant that we had to amuse ourselves in other ways. That's the reason the button box is so handy. I spent hours sorting and stringing.

Lately I've found a secret stash. Well, it's not a secret because it's in Andrew's shop but I am very territorial about it. I almost want to snatch them away when other customers search through them. The cards are scruffy but the buttons are a real find. I've just used my favourites to fasten a crochet cushion.

You need to look away from the cards to appreciate these buttons.

These are just a few of the vintage buttons from Andrew's shop.

And here are some special ones that I'll never part with.

Thursday, 19 May 2011


All addictions have to start somewhere and mine started on a dreary Saturday afternoon. Too late to go shopping, too early for settling down in front of the television and too old to go clubbing, I picked up "Crocheted Throws and Wraps" by Melody Griffiths and decided to try her Suffolk puffs, otherwise known as yoyos.

Easy to do and quick to make I used the colours I'd been using in my previous project. Soon I had a little collection of them.

By Sunday afternoon I had even more.

By Tuesday I had the 168 needed to complete a baby blanket. That's when the easy finished for me. I find it best to join squares together with double crochet while joining hexagons still baffles me. I decided not to follow the instructions given for joining and chose to back stitch them instead. I've since found an easier way but (in the words of Magnus Magnusson) as I'd already started I had to finish.

I think it worked out well sewing them up in a random fashion.

There is a good tutorial here

I've since played around with sizes and have adapted the instructions for the organic cotton I've been using. I use a 4mm hook and a double knit cotton. Forgive the British terms but this is how I do it not a How To Do IT. It's also the first time I've written down instructions.

How I make yoyos
No place here for a closed centre. It needs to look like a Polo mint not a Trebor.

1) Chain 6 and join with a slip stitch to make a ring.

2) Chain 6 (this acts as your first quadruple treble), 21 quadtr into the ring, ss into the 6th chain.

3) Chain 2, 1 tr into the next stitch, 2trtog 10 times, ss into the 2nd chain to join and gather up the puff.

This is the part where I say leave a long tail. I didn't leave enough the first time so ended up have to join them in a way I wasn't happy with. A long tail means about 20cm, leaving you enough to catch the puff down on the wrong side. Still with the needle threaded run it up through the middle of a stitch to the edge. You can now use this to join the next yoyo.

To finish, run the needle back down through the middle and fasten off near the centre opening.

Do play around with it. Different threads and hook sizes will give your yoyos individuality. Experiment with longer or shorter stitches. Remember to have an even amount of stitches for the last round gathering and you can't go wrong.

The top green has 22 quadtr and the purple 24.

The bottom row has 20 trtr

Let me know if you have any problems. Show me what you wonderfully creative people do with them but most of all - have fun!