My love is like a red, red rose…tea cosy!

crochet-tea-cosy-red-rose-basket-stitch

This is my latest crochet project… its a completely made up pattern, because I find following a pattern the equivalent of doing someone else’s algebra homework!

When I was a child I had a beautiful tea set, with cups and saucers, a pretty matching milk jug and a lovely full bellied tea pot. Never, in living memory, did I ever play with a few mugs and a kettle! So it is no surprise that I am somewhat of a tea lover and a bit of a tea snob – I like leaf tea in a pot!

red-rose-tea-cosy-crochet

One of the many little things I missed – (when our house move fell through and everything… I mean everything went into storage) was our lovely big tea pot that my grandma gave me as a wedding present …over thirty years ago! (oh my! now I feel old) Given that we have three large containers full to the brim with boxes it was easier to be on the look out for a new one, than spend hours rummaging – plus visiting the storage yard, just makes me sad.

crochet-basket-stitch-tea-cosy

This beauty was sitting, looking somewhat rejected in the most delightful tea emporium in Bath. It had a big red sticker on saying REDUCED to a fiver! It seemed in perfect condition – apparently it was missing it’s inner metal strainer – and they could not find one to fit – hence the huge reduction in price. The lovely assistant then kindly went through a complete stack of metal strainers until she found one to fit. (at an extra £2.00). I whipped out my card, faster than a whippet at a racetrack, and the tea pot was mine, complete with strainer for £7.00, before the realisation of what she was doing sunk in. Not only do we have a great pot but a lovely souvenir of Bath at the same time. (Jane Austen would be proud!) 

red-rose-teapot

The wool has a delightful tiny streak of glitter – Mayfield Yarn, called Sparkle Baby, that gorgeous vintage shade – a mixture of green/blue that works so well with the deep red, which is – (sit up straight now) from the WI Brand. Both were lovely to crochet with.

It might seem a little odd, but I am actually quite lazy, the great thing about making tea in a huge blue tea pot is that you can keep going back for more with the same effort it takes to make one cup!

Mr D, struggles to get his porkie pinkies into a delicate tea cup, so he has a manly mug, while I play, with girlie delight, use a delicate cup and saucer – half the size of his – hence I go back more than once!

basket-stitch-crochet

I love the pretty basket cosies with flowers on the top so decided to make one of my own, it is a very easy pattern. I find knitting hard on my hands so found a delightful youtube video on how to do a crochet basket stitch, it is quite a thick chunky stitch providing good insulation.

rose-tea-cosy-crochet

The roses, too, are crochet, but in one long strip and rolled together – and they look so lovely. I made a little crochet button and button hole to go round the base, just to bring it together and to encourage Mr D to use it. (he hates fiddling around with cosies – so it had to be easy to slip on and off).

I am not sure how I managed it, but my roses are all ready for Valentines Day… of course it is all perfectly planned

If you would like to make one – I can send you the pattern. I would suggest a black and white 1940 version of Rebbecca to crochet to while the rain lashes to the window pane.. last night I dreamt I was in Mandalay…

ttfn x

 

 

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Up-cycled Jumper to cardigan


jumper upcyle before

This lovely Angora Jumper was needing a little brightening up.

cutting the front

To make this into a cardigan I cut along the midpoint between the rows of stitching.

crocheting the edges

It is important to finish the edges before it began to fray.

A double crochet edge gives a stronger border for

covered buttons on cardigan

Its very easy to cover buttons, just make a circle of fabric bigger than the button

Use running stitch around the edge and then pull together so that the fabric gathers around the back.

Stitch in place.

faux button and popper closures

I use snap fasteners, to close the cardigan it makes it easy to fasten.

Upcycled jumper flowers 3

The stitched corsage is made from more covered buttons

I covered a button using crochet and placed in the middle of a suffolk puff

Upcycled jumper flower buttons

I crocheted a pretty frilled edge round one of the buttons

The rose was a felted button and the leaves were from a wool blanket I felted and dyed.

flower details 6

I hope my daughter enjoys her new vintage style cardigan.

Crochet Flower Tea Cosy

I find that wool shops can be like stepping into an artists palette, the colours and hues really do excite me. There seems to be an endless variety of textures as well as colours and after years of seeing haberdasheries and wool shops disappearing, the new wave of knitters and hookers has seen an upsurge in new wool varieties, merino and alpaca as well as denim, but I have a liking for cotton type wool and this is called baby bamboo.

Choosing colour is difficult for some people they are daunted by the sheer magnitude but I find if you look at a range you will find that the shades and colours have a harmony. Such was the case with this, there were a beautiful palette of the baby colours, blues, yellows as well as greens. The pink has come out in this picture a lot brighter than it is naturally it is lovely. Very soft to work with and gentle on the hands.

I have a sweet little tea pot, from Whittards, its lovely blue and white but was being swamped under tea cosies made for stouter pots! I felt it was small enough to practise on!

I wanted to learn to crochet but I have a terrible problem understanding practical things from books,  I wish I had let my Nan show me when she wanted to, she made the most wonderful bed covers using the granny square!

Since she could not show me, I did the next best thing and I took myself off to a local WI where a lovely lady kindly showed me the basics. I was then able to decipher the books and learn new stitches, but I still struggle to follow patterns!

So this is my little journey into playing with various stitches, made from two straight easy pieces of plain crochet and some practice frills. The roses were great fun, as usual I went off the pattern to create my own rose  but I was pleased with the results.

Crochet is so much more free form than knitting, you can make holes, add frills or simply pull and it will all come undone and you can start again. It really is the most forgiving wonderful craft.

Cable Cushion with Crochet back

I have completed my cable cushion! I love the texture that can be achieved by knitting, it is astounding just how many variations of pattern that can be made with two simple stitches.
I used a very chunky yarn, in soft pale cream – it was satisfying as the knitting grows so quickly! I did not manage to copy the pattern, rather making my own using the technique.
I chose to use crochet for the back as the tweed yarn was only two ply, I would still be knitting until next year it was so tiny! The effect of the two textures add interest.
I always use a single crochet to stitch the cushion together, it makes a lovely edge and creates more of a contrast between the crochet back and the knitted front
As each stitch is worked together it makes the finish tidier.
The button edging was created afterwards using crochet which handles buttonholes easier than knitting techniques. I also added a slight curve / frill to the edge.
The crochet back is wider to create a pillowcase effect, folding over inside covering the cushion.
While I enjoyed this project – I could not help but consider how expensive it is to knit or crochet, the wool was approximately £7 per ball! I used two balls for this project but fortunately I had the buttons in my own button box.
So when I came across a cable scarf in a charity shop it gave me an idea…..
This cable cushion is made like a patchwork quilt with the cable squares rotated at 90 degrees.
I zigzag stitched the edges to prevent the kitting from fraying and then used one longer piece as a flap for the back.
I wanted a contrasting back re-using this old white jumper. The bottom edge meant I could use it for the opening – there was no need to hem the open edge.
The back looks like this – and this cushion was made for £5. I love up cycling – it gives me a real thrill.

A great source for cabling instructions and lots of knitting techniques can be found here