Just popping in to say hello

July 9, 2013

and to say you can follow my blog with Bloglovin if you like…

Merry Christmas

December 24, 2011


Testing again

February 24, 2011


Books I’ve read this year #19 – 40

August 18, 2010

Every time I’ve finished a book this year, I have added it to the pile of books I’ve read thinking, “I really must write a post about the books I’ve read this year before this pile falls over.” This morning the pile fell over.

Ngaio Marsh “Death in a White Tie”
Ngaio Marsh “Overture to Death”
Ngaio Marsh “Death at the Bar”
Ngaio Marsh “The Nursing Home Murder”
Ngaio Marsh “Surfeit of Lampreys”
Ngaio Marsh “Vintage Murder”
Ngaio Marsh “Died in the Wool”
Marilynne Robinson “Home”
David Nicholls “One Day”
Justine Picardie “Truth or Dare”
Patrick Gale “The Facts of Life”
Patrick Gale “Rough Music”
Patrick Gale “Ease”
Patrick Gale “Friendly Fire”
Joanna Trollope “Friday Nights”
Ian Rankin “The Flood”
Sarah Brown, Gil McNeil and Hugo Tagholm (eds) “Journey to the Sea”
Ruth Rendell “Wolf to the Slaughter”
Jodi Picoult “Handle with Care”
C J Sansom “Winter in Madrid”
Susan Hill “Air & Angels”
Dorothy Sheridan (ed) “Wartime Women”

Appliqué flowers

July 24, 2010


Before framing…
Applique flowers

And after.
Applique flowers

The frame is a scrap-booking frame from Spotlight, which I painted Raw Umber.


June 15, 2010


Oh, I am so pleased with this. Look, those are cables; crochet cables. Crochet cables!  I expect everyone else in the world has been crocheting cables since they were toddlers, but they are new to me.  There was much swearing and unravelling of swatches before I got the hang of them, though that’s mainly because I was trying to teach myself to do them with the aid of a pattern for a swatch in a 40 year old book that said something like this: 1 RtF round each of next 2RtF, 1 RdtF into next RtF, then keeping hook at front of work but behind the 2Rtdf just worked work Cr5B….”  WTF????

This pic doesn’t do the hat justice at all. Obviously, the best thing to do would be to take a picture of it on my head, so you can see it properly, but that would involve not only washing my hair, but also blow-drying it, and either taking a picture of the back of my head, or having to put on make-up, and I can’t be bothered to do any of those things today.  Or most days, really.

Sock monkey

Oh dear, he’s a bit ugly, this sock monkey.  Never mind; he’s off to Australia where he can give someone else nightmares.

Baby cardigan

For a new little baby, born in April.  I’m hoping this is a size 6 – 12 months, so if I don’t get round to posting it off to the UK straight away it won’t matter…


Yup, no change.  Still not finished.

And something new in progress…

Based on this Cath Kidston tea cosy, though mine isn’t going to be a tea cosy.  I’m not quite sure what mine’s going to be, yet, but tea cosy is definitely not one of the options.

(Sorry about the crappy pics.  Mid-winter here…)

Moriarty: two colour stripey crochet beanie

June 12, 2010

Toddler sized beanie made in Debbie Bliss Pure Cotton, colours 21 and 26
Christmas presents (8)

Toddler sized beanie made in Rowan Cashsoft colours 12 (blue) and 24 (pink)Christmas presents (7)

Men’s size beanie made in Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran – can’t remember the colours!Christmas presents (2)

Moriarty is a two coloured beanie, crocheted in a spiral, which means it doesn’t have a seam, but it does have a slight jag at the end of the hat, though if you do the version with the flower, this won’t show. If you don’t want a jag, then join each round using a slip stitch rather than crochet in a spiral.



These are the sizes I use for my hats:

1 2 3 4
Size guide Toddler Child Woman Man
Circumference 45 cm(18 inches) 50 cm(20 inches) 55 cm(22 inches) 60 cm(24 inches)
Approximate length* 15 cm(6 inches) 17.5 cm(6.5 inches) 19.5 cm(7.5 inches) 21.5 cm(8.5 inches)

*if you want a longer or shorter hat, just add or subtract rows accordingly.



I made these with Debbie Bliss Pure Cotton, Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran and, Rowan Cashsoft Aran, so any Aran weight yarn should work.  For the children’s sizes you’ll need about  half a ball/ 45 metres of each colour, while the adult sizes use about a ball or 90m of each colour (sorry these are such rough estimates – I didn’t write down the exact amount of yarn I used when I made all these hats).


Stitches used

  • dc – double crochet (American single crochet)
  • tc – treble crochet (American double crochet)



12 stitches and 18 rows to 10 cm or 4 inches measured over double crochet using a 5 mm hook, though it’s more important to get the correct number of stitches than the correct number of rows as it’s so easy to change the length of the hat if needed.



This hat is worked in a spiral.  At the end of each round, pull the yarn through the last stitch so you have a big loop, as that will prevent you accidentally unravelling the stitches while you work on the next round.

Shaping the crown

To start: with your main colour, make an adjustable ring by making a loop with your yarn with the tail end of the yarn in front of the working yarn, insert your hook into the loop and draw the working yarn through, then chain 1.  I’d show you how to do this myself, but I accidentally ripped off my thumbnail yesterday and my hands are in no fit state to appear in photographs, but there is a good tutorial with pictures here.

Round 1: dc six times into the adjustable ring, then pull the yarn through so you have a big loop and remove the hook – remember to do this on every round so that you don’t accidentally unravel your stitches.

Pic 1: end of round 1

Round 2: Join contrasting yarn into the adjustable ring, pull the ring closed, then dc twice into each of the stitches in the previous round.  (12 stitches)

Pic 2: joining contrasting yarn

Pic 3: end of round 2

Round 3: 1 dc into each stitch of previous round.  (12 stitches)

Pic 4: end of round 3

Round 4: 2 dc into each stitch of previous round.  (24 stitches)

Pic 5: end of round 4

Round 5: 1 dc into each stitch of previous round.  (24 stitches)

Round 6: 2dc into first stitch, then 1 dc into next stitch.  Repeat until end.  (36 stitches)

Round 7: 1 dc into each stitch of previous round.  (36 stitches)

Round 8: 2dc into first stitch, then 1 dc into next two stitches.  Repeat until end.  (48 stitches)

Round 9: 1 dc into each stitch of previous round.  (48 stitches)

Round 10: Toddler size only – 2 dc into first stitch, then 1 dc into next 7 stitches. Repeat until end.  (54 stitches)

Round 10: All other sizes – 2 dc into first stitch, then 1 dc into next three stitches.  Repeat until end. (60 stitches)

That’s the end of the crown shaping for the children’s sizes.  For the adult sizes, continue as follows:

Round 11: 1 dc into each stitch of previous round.  (60 stitches)

Round 12:  Women’s size only – 2 dc into first stitch, then 1 dc into next 9 stitches.  Repeat until end.  (66 stitches)

Round 12: Men’s size only – 2 dc into first stitch, then 1 dc into next four stitches.  Repeat until end.  (72 stitches)

Body of hat

For the body of the hat continue crocheting without increasing for the number of rounds shown below.   On the final round, which should be in the contrasting colour. dc up to the last but one stitch, then slip stitch into the last stitch, and cut yarn leaving a loose end to weave in.

Toddler size: 12 rounds (to make a total of 22 rounds so far)

Child size:  16 rounds (to make a total of 26 rounds so far)

Women’s size:  16 rounds (to make a total of 28 rounds so far)

Men’s size:  20 rounds (to make a total of 32 rounds so far)

Then, with the main colour, dc into each stitch for five more rounds for the children’s sizes and seven more rounds for the adult sizes, cast off, and weave in ends.  You should have a total of 27 rounds for the toddler size, 31 rounds for the children’s size, 35 rounds for the women’s size and 39 rounds for the men’s size.


Make an adjustable ring as before

Round 1:  9 dc into ring, and join round with a slip stitch

Round 2:  chain 1 (counts as first dc) then do 3 treble crochet into first stitch, and slip stitch into next.  *Into next stitch do 1 double crochet and 3 trebles, then slip stitch into next stitch.  Repeat from * to end. Weave in ends, and sew onto hat.


May 26, 2010

Unfinished doll.

Unfinished hat.

Unfinished baby cardigan.

Unfinished sock monkey.

Books I’ve read this year #4 – 18

April 16, 2010

“The Labours of Hercules” by Agatha Christie
“Nights in the gardens of Spain” by Witi Ihimaera

Flowers for my mother-in-law

March 2, 2010

I was wondering what to make my mother-in-law for her birthday, when the Lion Brand Yarn newsletter popped into my inbox, containing this pattern for amigurumi flowers, which I thought would be just the thing.

Flowers for web

I made mine with remnants of Debbie Bliss cashmerino chunky, and made 24 flowers instead of the 18 the pattern called for, and I left out the leaves as well. I think it’s pretty cute, and it was lovely and quick to make.