Sunday, 16 November 2014

Crochet Notes - Christmas Cushion

Christmas Cushion

Using Starflower Hexagon by Julie Mnemosyne - I always thought this pattern would double up as a great Poinsettia and I'm pleased with the results. My first Christmas decoration of the year.

3.75mm hook
yellow DK
2 shades of red DK
green DK

Red pillow case

Right to left:
- yellow = rounds 1 and 2
- red = rounds 3,4 and 5
- dark red = round 6
- green = rounds 7 and 8

Finished fabric with a round of trebles, half trebles and double crochet. 

With the pillow case.

I pinned the fabric onto the pillow case, cut around the shape with a cm border and then sewed around border so that there was a pocket for stuffing. I stuffed the pocket and sewed up the opening. 

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Poppies and Remembrance

The poppy symbol to remember those that have fallen in war is always special every year but this year the centenary of World War One starting has made it even more poignant.

In the UK we remember those fallen in war with a national 2 mins silence at 11am on the 11th November - the moment the guns fell silent in 1918. The Poppy Appeal began in 1921 as a charity to support those injured and it has continued ever since. The poppies were chosen because they grew naturally in the Flanders Fields, one of the battlegrounds where many soldiers had fallen, and their red colour, symbolising the blood, lost makes the poppy a perfect choice for this charity.

To mark the 100 year anniversary there has been a poppy art installation at the Tower of London, you can see the aerial photo above. I went into London last night to see it, it was incredibly moving. At 5pm in the pouring rain a long list of World War One fallen was read out followed by the Last Post - a very moving moment.

As you can see from the photo above the poppies look like a lake of blood around the Tower, it can't help but make you think about war in general.

Having researched a bit of family history I know of three relatives that died during the First World War: my great uncle Billy Pullum (my nan's brother - I have had the honour of visiting his grave near Ypres); my great great uncle Charles Tudman (Billy's uncle) who also died in Belgium and from another side of the family my great grandfather Ottomar Waibel died on the Somme in France - Ottomar was a German living in London with his English wife and three small children, he was sent back to Germany when war broke out and was never to return.

Poppy for Remembrance Day - Simply Crochet

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Crochet Notes - Issue 22 Granny Bag

Do you ever buy crafty magazines but never make anything from them? All too often if you're anything like me - however Simply Crochet - Issue 22 came up trumps in the Granny Square inspiration department. I used three grannies from this issue to make a new bag and I'm very pleased with the results.

1 x ball of Adriafil Primula - 50g
1 x Stylecraft Life DK - 100g
2 x King Cole Giza - 100g

Hook: 4mm

12 x squares of Petal.
12 x squares of Granny Joyce
10 x squares of Perfect Pencil Case

Main panels:
12 squares - 6 of petal and 6 of Granny Joyce - use joins as you go.
I changed Granny Joyce as follows: Round 3 = groups of 4 not 3 trebles.

Granny Joyce

Perfect Pencil Case

Perfect Scent

Once the panel is formed it needs edging: I used trebles and did 3 rows at the top and bottom and 1 row at the side.

For the side and bottom panels I used 10 squares of the Perfect Pencil Case square - I added two more rounds in the same manner and then a third round in the contrast colour and used this to join the squares as I went.

For the edging of the side panel I did exactly the same as the main panels.
I then sewed the ends in and sewed it all together and joined it to the bag for life.

For the straps I used 120 chain, followed by trebles in each of the chains. Then to edge it I did double crochets all the way round.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Crochet Notes - Camper Van Cushion

Camper Van Cushion

I used this pattern from Ravelry and I used the Lion Brand Aran recommended. I needed two whites really and if I did it again I would order two so that I could finish the top in white. I didn't have enough white for the flower - but I'm ok leaving that out.

On the back I decided to do a number plate which I used and oddment of yellow DK for - but I doubled the yarn. I did 10 chain plus 2 for the first dc and I did 3 rows. Which I then framed with the grey.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Crochet Notes - Yoma Bag

Last year I went Christmas shopping with some friends in Brighton, it was a lovely day out, pottering around the lanes, looking for unusual gifts and having the obligatory lunch with a bottle of wine. Whilst there I treated myself to a new purse in a shop called Yoma and they gave it to me in this delightful little red bag for life. It has a lovely strong black piping and swirls and I thought it would make a nice little project bag. Well it has taken a while - but here it is.

In my stash was 3 balls of Roxy and they proved just right for the occasion.

Yarn: 3 balls of Wendy Roxy and 3 balls of Wendy Mode DK
Hook: 4mm

Make 18 squares like this:

Roxy Circles:
6 chain
Round 1:12 trebles
Round 2:12 x 2 trebles
Round 3:12 x 3 trebles

Black Square:
Round 4: 3 chain, 2 trebles, 2 chain, 3 trebles, **2 x 3 trebles, corner - 3 trebles, 2 chain, 3 trebles, repeat from ** until you have to join the round with a slip stitch.

Round 5: Go round again.

2 x black squares for the bottom.
As above but all black.

90 Chain - treble into each chain, treble round the end and up the other side - fasten off.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Crochet Notes - Canterbury Bag II

Having turned my original Canterbury Bag into cushions for my Aunty and Uncle, I needed to once more turn the bag for life I received in Canterbury into a crocheted masterpiece.

Canterbury Bag

Conversion to two cushions
This time I decided to use up all my odds and ends - always a satisfying moment - in order to create a new bag.


Bag for life
4mm hook
double knit yarn
yarn sewing needle and scissors

I decided to use the centre from Attic 24' How to Hexagons and then square them instead of turning them into hexagons. A simple procedure - you just have 4 corners with 2 clusters in between.

I divided the yarn into four groups: dark blue, mid-blue, and turquoise for the centres and one colour for the edging to tie it all together.

Once I had made enough centres - 40 - 20 for each side - I arranged the them and used the edging to join-as-you-go.

Once joined I did one round of 3 clusters to tidy it all up, then I crocheted the two sides together, fastened off the ends and sewed in the lining (the bag for life).

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Crochet Notes - Study Bag

Finished Study Bag containing 2 lever arch folders. 


Bag to cover - I used a bag for life type bag - this one was given to me on a spa day.
4mm hook
Three shades of yarn.

  • Twilley's Freedom Echo
  • Patterns Smoothie
  • Gedifra Samina

Crochet Hexagon Throw pattern - you can find it here on Ravelry.
Yarn sewing needle.
Scissors (obviously!)


Width: 50cm
Length: 50cm
Strap length: 60cm


Make enough hexagons to cover your bag - I did them all the same.
Join as you go.
I made 45 hexagons which gave me five rounds of nine hexagons.

After 4 rounds of hexagons. 

 To fill in gaps along the bottom I made three squares for the bottom in the same style.

I also did 2 rounds of half trebles in my edging colour around the top of the bag. 

Straps X 2

Chain 95 stitches. 
One row of trebles.
Change to edging colour - 1 round of half-trebles. 
Sew on using edging colour to blend in. 

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Mad about Bridget Jones

I have been a big Bridget Jones fan since the first book back in the 90s and just love the films too - I think I have watched those two films more than any other film (apart from perhaps the Back to the Future trilogy).

So Bridget Jones the third book - Mad about the Boy - has some poor reviews but in my opinion these are not justified. Bridget is back, 50 and has young children - she also finds herself in difficult circumstances.
Same old Bridget with a new set of problems and some friends.

It's funny, witty, honest, real, well-observed..... I could go on. I loved it. The worst bit was coming to the end and not having anymore to read and I really hope they make a third film. 

Monday, 1 September 2014

Summer Reading

This summer I have read these four books:

Bones Under the Beach Hut by Simon Brett

This book is from a series about two amateur sleuths Carole and Jude, who solve murder mysteries that they happen to stumble upon.  It is very "Rosemary and Thyme" in style and kept me interested but I wouldn't rush out to buy any more in the series. 

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

One of those books that I kept meaning to read one day. Used by many schools in the UK for GCSE English Literature but not liked by former Education Secretary Michael Gove because it is American literature. Being a teacher I have heard the students talk about this book over the years and so I knew where it was heading but that didn't distract me from the tension that slowly builds up over the course of the book. Steinbeck paints you a picture of the setting and the characters that you won't forget. The shear hopelessness of their situation is lesson for us all in so many ways; I for one hope this remains on the GCSE reading list.

Secrets of the Lighthouse by Santa Montefiore

This is the second book I have read by Santa Montefiore as I read The Summer House a year or so ago. There is similarity between the two being that of rich families and their troubles, which might put me off reading any more if I'm honest. Whilst I enjoyed these books and the stories that gradually unfold, I did find them predictable. Anyhow - this book follows Ellen as she runs away to Ireland to escape her forthcoming marriage, she falls in love with the place, her long lost family and of course - a man, Conor! Part of the story unfolds through the eyes of Conor's dead wife, which does give an interesting aspect to the events as you move along. 

One thing I do like about Montefiore's books are the front covers which all have the back view of a woman alone in a large landscape. 

Indelible Ink by Fiona McGregor

I bought this whilst on holiday in Australia and I chose it because it is set in Sydney. I think having been to a lot of the areas mentioned in the book really helped bring it alive for me but if you haven't been to Sydney don't let that put you off reading this book - it's a gem. I should just say though, if you don't like course language then this isn't the book for you. 

Indelible Ink is told through the eyes of Marie King - aged 59 and her three grown up children, but mostly through Marie. It is a realistic and gritty tale of these Sydneysiders and their trials and tribulations. Marie is divorced and finding a new way of life through getting tattoos; her daughter Blanche is a career woman struggling with her ticking hormonal clock; Clark is a single dad in love with a married woman and Leon is in love with a man who has moved on from him. 

A memorable book that leaves me wanting to read more FionaMcGregor (I would love to see this as a film or a mini-series too). 

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Knitting Knotes - Twinkly Fibonacci

Twinkly Fibonacci - using Adriafil Giada 

I decided to knit up one my old 1980s patterns and I managed to get hold of my favourite twinkly yarn Adriafil Giada at a good price. Sadly there wasn't enough white to do the pattern itself. So I decided to use a Fibonacci stripe pattern that I had used before. To give credit where it is due - it is based on Candy Stripes by Fiona McTague in the Simply Knitting Jan 2009 issue.

So here it is at the beginning.

Picture with the original rib which I decided was too messy. 


Yarn: Adriafil Giada 
Colour A = 6 x 50g balls - white
Colour B = 2 x 50g balls - grey
Colour C = 2 x 50g balls - pink
Colour D = 2 x 50g balls - green

Needles: 3.25mm 3.25mm circular needle and 4mm and 4mm circular needle.
Yarn sewing needle
Oddment of similar colour yarn without the sequins for sewing up.

Finished measurements

Length:  59cm
Length to armhole: 34cm
Chest:  110cm

Here are my Knitting Knotes for my adaptation of this pattern.


  • Using 3.25mm - cast on 109 sts and knit 10 cm in K1 P1 rib inc 1 stitch on the last row = 110sts.
  • Change to 4mm and knit in stocking stitch increasing 1 stitch each end of every 3 rows until there are 126 stitches. 
  • Fibonacci stripe pattern - over 28 rows - knit twice. 
4 - B - grey
2 - C - pink
6 - D - green
4 - A - white
2 - B - grey
4 - C - pink
2 - D - green
4 - A - white

Do 4,2,6 again and then continue in white to ***52cm - divide for neck.


Knit straight until work measures 59cm.
Cast off 14sts at beg of next 3 rows.

Match other side. 


Same as back to ***
Continue in white to 45cm divide for neck.

42/42/42 - finish as for back. 


Pick up and rib (1x1) using 3.25mm circular needle.

  • Down left front 51 sts - place marker on last stitch - this must always be a knit stitch. 
  • Across front 42sts.
  • Up right front 51sts - place marker on first stitch - this must always be a knit stitch.
  • Down right back 24sts - place marker on last stitch - this must always be a knit stitch. 
  • Across back 42sts.
  • Up left back 24sts - place marker on first stitch - this must always be a knit stitch.
Knit 10 rows 1x1 rib - always dec 1st either side of the marked stitches - keep them a constant knit stitch.

Cast off.


I did these in the Fibonacci pattern. 

Pick up and knit 106sts around the armhole. Knit 2 more rows. 
Decrease 2sts evenly. 
Knit 5 rows.
On the next row decrease 2 sts evenly. 
Repeat until there are 90sts.

Knit 4 rows decrease 2 evenly on each = 82sts.
Change to 3.25mm

Knit 7 rows in 1x1 rib.
Cast off

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Australian Adventure - Beach Baths

I loved the beach baths on the Aussie beaches - here are a few:

Pearl Beach - Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park, Central Coast, NSW

Bondi Beach, NSW

Bronte Beach, NSW

Clovelly Beach, NSW

Cronulla Beach, NSW

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Australian Adventure Post 5

Friday 8th August

We left the lovely Fairmont Resort after a hearty breakfast and headed off towards Sydney again for the last leg of our tour.

This time were staying south of Sydney at the Avonmore on the Park in Randwick. I booked this because it looked like an interesting boutique hotel, also it was near Bondi and Bronte beaches, well placed to get to Botany Bay and twenty minutes from the airport. However, if I were to return to my booking stage I would go for the Novotel at Brighton-le-Sands, also very well placed. The reason being that despite friendly and helpful staff the room was cold (there was an oil filled heater to be fair) but the bathroom was freezing. In addition Randwick wasn't the best place for tourists, I think Brighton would have been better.

Anyhow - after checking in we went off to Bondi for a walk around.

The Bondi crescent of sand.

Bondi in winter

The famous Lifeguard Club

Following our walkabout we headed back to Randwick but took a wrong turn and ended up in Rose Bay and Watson's Bay - what lovely places to live for Sydneysiders:)

Saturday 9th August

Following some shopping we decided to do the Coastal Walk, we parked at Bronte beach and walked along the coast to Clovelly. One of the things I love about Australian beaches are the baths and bronte's baths were in a stunning and dramatic location.

The waves trickle over into the pool - it looked so refreshing. 

Please note the surfer about to hit the surf. 

The clifftop walk goes past several little beaches, a bowling club (where we stopped for a drink to admire the view), a rugby club and a Victorian cemetery. We walked to Clovelly and then returned.

Clifftop Cemetery at Clovelly


Clovelly Beach

Sunday 10th August

For our last day we decided to end where the British involvement in Australia began at Botany Bay. As a historian myself, I found this a very philosophical and bittersweet place. We arrived at Kurnell Park in Botany Bay and began with the Burrawang Walk, this takes you along a path that has several monuments to Cook and his colleagues from the Endeavour. It explains what happened on the first meeting with the Aborigines and it puts into context the Aboriginal experience following Cook's landing.

There is a huge emphasis on the atrocities suffered by the Aboriginals and a pledge to move forward together (from my brief observations during our stay I would say there is still a lot of work to be done but there is a commitment to do it). There is also a museum at Kurnell and it puts more context around the area for visitors - very interesting, we spent ages in there.

Whilst standing at Cook's monument an Aboriginal guy offered to take our picture - a lovely moment.

Kurnell, Botany Bay, Cook's monument and the plaques telling the Aboriginal story. 

Following my history fix and a very deep thinking morning we drove off to Cronulla for a coastal walk to finish our Australian Adventure. Cronulla Beach was lovely but stunning at sunset.

Cronulla Beach at sunset

The sunsets on our Australian Adventure

Crochet Notes - Tudor Rose, Cappuccino Lace and Daisy Loop Bed Topper

Using Wendy Supreme Cotton Chunky and Rowan Aran Cotton with a strand of lace added. 6mm hook. (8 balls of blackcurrant and 1 teal.)...