Sunday, March 31, 2013

I've been a busy bee this month . . .

. . . even though I managed to catch this virus going around, which knocked me for six, I must admit :(

Unfortunately, whenever I get the slightest virus, I end up sleeping even more than usual but, because I had a raging temperature with it, I kept on waking up sweating like mad, and in more pain than usual. The thing is, when I'm like that, all I can do is get hubby to help me get as comfortable as I can, then settle back into bed. This then leaves me in too much pain to sleep, or to concentrate enough to read - and this is when I turn to my crochet work.

The really good thing I've found with crochet work, is that, even though I can only do it for a short time, it can be so absorbing that I can block out the pain for a while - but then, of course, it catches up with me, and it becomes a vicious circle :(

But, despite extra helpings of illness, I feel as though I've had a very productive month :)

Firstly, I managed to complete the Laptop Cover I promised to make for my mum, and it will be posted off to her as soon as possible next week.

I'm really happy with this, as it came out really well, and the yarn I used - from the ICE range, was really very pretty once made up.

I didn't use a pattern for this, as I'd done something similar with my daughter's notebook cover, and some crochet hook cases I'd made for family and friends, but it came out just as I'd wanted, so I'm very happy with it :)

I decorated the opening flap with some pretty decorations, and fastened it with a couple of lovely buttons I found in my stash, and then I sewed on some letter beads, spelling out my mum's name :)

After I had completed this, I joined in with The Crochet Crowd's March challenge, by making my own Spring Fling Pillow, which I completed a few days ago.

I was going to write my post as soon as I had finished the pillow, but I had been unable to find the battery recharger needed for my camera batteries. Bob searched the house high and low, but couldn't find it anywhere so, in the end, I went on to eBay, and found a little cheap USB one that plugs into the laptop, and charges while the machine is switched on.

I have to admit to being a bit dubious as to it working, as it was really cheap, and so lightweight that it didn't feel real somehow, but I put the batteries in, plugged it into my laptop, and waited the 5 hours it was said to take.

Much to my surprise, it worked perfectly! In fact, my old charger, which was quite substantial in size and weight, took 16 hours to charge the same batteries, and only lasted one or two goes with the camera. This new charger, even though it only took 5 hours, has charged the batteries so well that they seem to be still in full strength even after being used a lot this last few days.

I guess it really was time to have a new charger :)

Anyway, because it worked, I was able to take quite a few pics of my new cushion, so here they are:

I took this one with the cushion pad inside, but it didn't show the details off as well as I'd like, so I removed the pad, and took some more with the case flat.

This is the front view again, but flattened out, so that you can see the details of the variegated leaves that I crocheted to go with the main flower (something not included in the original pattern, which you can find here: )

I used quite a mix of Red Heart Yarns for this - in fact, I've almost used up what I had, which means another online shopping trip for me - something I never grow tired of where Yarns are concerned :)

For the main front, I used Red Heart Chunky - Fire - and, for the flowers and leaves I used up the last of my various Red Heart Sport colours. For the back, and the edging of the petals - plus the cushion edging itself - I used Red Heart Curly Q - Calypso - which, admittedly, wasn't the most obvious choice, but I liked the springiness of it, and the way it caused the petals to curve inwards.

Here's a photo of the back, using the Curly Q:

As you can see, I created a flap, to keep the cushion pad inside the case, and I used two lovely, big and bright, buttons from my stash, and then I crocheted the cords to hold the flap snugly closed. The little ornament you can see in the center of the flap is my usual Owl Logo :)

Even though it wasn't on the pattern, I decided to add another flower to the front and, as it was called the Spring Fling Pillow, I decided on a Daffodil :)

As it happens, I've never crocheted a daffodil before, so I went online, and found a great tutorial that showed me how to make one. There wasn't a written pattern, but I wrote it down as I went along, so I can do it again without having to go online for it. The tutorial is on YouTube, and was made by a lovely lady known as the Crochet Geek, and it can be found here: 

I couldn't find any daffodil leaf patterns, so I looked at a few images to see what they are like, and I made up a pattern on the spot - a very simple one. I must admit :)

The stem was made by putting three different green shades of yarn together, and crocheting a chain until I thought it was long enough, although, unfortunately, I had meant that particular stem to go on the main flower, and sewed it onto the daffodil by mistake. I guess I should have unstitched it, and used the same shade as the leaves for the daffodil but, by then, I'd had enough of sewing, so left it as it was! :)

The variegated broad leaves I'd added to the main flower, were from a pattern I'd found online, by a lady called 'yolandasotolopez', and her tutorial can be found at:

To finish off the two flowers, I also added a pale yellow glass bead into the center of both of them as, when the light catches them just right, it gives an added look of luxury :)

So now my two main projects are out of the way, I'm going to spend the next week or so before the new challenge arrives, by creating some baby blankets. After I'd finished last month's challenge, the Octagon & Square Throw, I still had some squares left over so, as they were the pale blue ones, I decided to use them up by creating a few baby blankets from them.

I've made a start on them and, once I've finished, I'll put them on here to show you :)

Anyway, this is how I've been keeping as busy as I can, and occupying myself when I couldn't do anything else, and I have to say that, despite feeling as though I were a wrung-out dishcloth for most of the time, I've also felt a good sense of achievement, too :)

So, until the next time . . . .

Keep on crocheting :) x x


Thursday, March 21, 2013

And the next lot of completed projects . . .

Well, I managed to get my Octagon & Square Throw together just in the nick of time - in fact, I posted it to The Crochet Crowd the night before the finish, so I'm well pleased :)

As for the throw itself, I was a little disappointed in it once it was together, as I sewed it while sitting in bed, so it wasn't as flat as it should have been but, apart from that, it went very well.

The organisers of The Crochet Crowd had expected around 100 entrants for this month's challenge, but in the end there were actually 496 finished Throws at the end of play.

Here's mine:

I used the Red Heart Sport Yarn that I had ordered from America a couple of months ago, so I was glad I actually had some already in my stash, as I couldn't have entered the challenge without it. But I've got to make sure I order a whole new lot, as I've just started on this month's challenge - the Spring Fling Pillow - and it's going to use up every bit of Red Heart Yarn I have left.

Here's a link, if you'd like to see them:

My daughter was visiting me between jobs this last week, and she brought her new netbook with her. It had a cover on it, but it was a very thin sponge-like material, and I didn't think it fitted too well, so I went into my yarn stash, and found the 2 balls of Red Heart Sport Yarn, in Camouflage, that I had bought with her in mind, and I started to crochet her a new cover for the netbook.

I was really pleased with the results, as the cover was really thick, as I'd used both balls in tandem, and so it will make a good shock-absorber for Brex's netbook while she travels - as she does so frequently :)

I couldn't take any pics myself, as I've put the battery re-charger for my camera away somewhere, and now can't find it, but Brex saved the day, and used her snazzy phone camera to take some for me, so here they are:

As you can see, I've used a black Red Heart Sports Yarn to edge the notepad cover, and I created a flap, so the notebook stayed tucked safely inside. I then used a bit of left-over yarn to create a buttonhole, then sewed on a large button of Brex's choosing, to keep it all snugly closed :)

Brex wanted the word 'Junglist' written with the small silver letter beads I've got and, although she's explained to me what it's about, I really haven't a clue - but as it's not for me, I guess it doesn't matter! Lol

I put Brex's name on the back, but that was just something I like doing anyway:)

All-in-all, I'm very pleased with what I've done this last few weeks and, now I've started on the next challenge, I feel happier still - mind you, I've also started crocheting together some of the leftover squares I had after making the throw, and these will be going towards a parcel of items I'm going to be crocheting for a group I recently joined. 

The group is called LAMB, and this stands for Little Angels Memory Boxes, and it's base is in Australia. The boxes are filled with all sorts of things, such as layettes, blankets and hats, and hearts, and they are given to parents who lose their babies from 16 weeks gestation and over, and anything up to 16 years of age, and they are meant as keepsakes, or to dress their lost child in. The hearts are provided in twos, so that one can be placed with the lost child, and the partner heart kept by the parents.

Here's the link if you're interested in learning more:

I'm not only doing that, but I've also started a laptop cover for my mum's new laptop!

My mum is 74 in April, but she's not letting her age stop her from coming into the 21st century, and she has just started taking lessons on using her new laptop along with the complexities of the internet. Her problem, is that she hasn't got a cover for her laptop and, as she travels to her lessons on her scooter, she needs something to protect the laptop from the bumps that occur in her travels, so I've told her that I'll crochet her something similar to my Brex's netbook cover :)

As it happens, I've got some gorgeous ICE yarn, in a lovely self-striping purple, that shades down to an almost white, so I've started crocheting the cover, and I'll use a plain purple yarn to do the edging with. Once I've completed it - and found my camera's battery charger - I'll post some pics of my next lot of completed projects :)

In the meantime, keep on crocheting! :) x x

Friday, March 01, 2013

. . . and two projects finished :)

I've had some bad nights this last few nights and, because of the pain I'm in, I couldn't sleep. Rather than sit there in the dark feeling more and more upset, I decided to have a go at finishing off my two projects.

I could only crochet for 10 minutes at a time, then take a break, then crochet again, but it amazed me how much I was able to do in that way. Because of this extra time, I was able to finish both projects.

I finished the Cat Neck Pillow first but I was very disappointed with it, as I sewed the eyes too far apart, had stuffed the body too much, and hadn't made a great job of sewing the nose, mouth and whiskers - in fact, I thought it was quite ugly!

Hubby, on the other hand, seemed to fall in love with this unfortunate creature, and immediately adopted it for his own, calling it 
Gunther Claude :) (He always manages to find unusual names for unusual creatures).

Here is the finished article:

I am going to try and make one again, as I'm determined to get it right, but this poor chap will stay firmly ensconced in hubby's possession :)

My second project was a bag, as I'd not attempted one before. I decided that I wasn't going to do something large and time consuming, so I chose a pattern that I came across online - something appropriate to me - a child's Owl Bag.

I was quite pleased with how this turned out:

I think that, if I try this pattern again, I'm going to increase the chains, so that it is much larger, as the bag itself only turned out as 12 x 12 cms (4" x 4"). Although only large enough for a small child, I'm very pleased with how it turned out - although I'm going to have to invest in some smaller black buttons to use as eyes, as I think the ones I used were a little bit too big.

I'm already planning my next project. I belong to a group online called The Crochet Crowd, and they've got a project running at the moment called the 'Octagon & Square Throw Pattern'.

There have already been lots of throws completed, with their pictures being shown online, so I'm hoping to join them within the next week or so :)

I'll let you know how I get on :)

In the meantime, my cat, Kushka, was waiting patiently for me to finish taking photos of Gunther, so I quickly took a snap of her - and here it is:

The flash caught her eyes, and she now lives up to her name in this photo - Kushka Mistyeyes! Lol

Her collar is partly opened, and we seem to spend lots of time each day in tucking it closed, but then, the next time we see her, there it is, open again!

Hubby is totally convinced that she does it deliberately, as if it were a sign of her field cred! Lol