Thursday 31 October 2013

The price of a Ripple Blanket

You remember the Ripple Blanket I have just finished for Shona, my daughter?  Well, it really was a labour of love.   And love is free, right?

So, out of interest, I thought I would price it up - and what a shock I got.

Here are the stats:

Yarn used:
1020g of Hayfield Bonus DK costing £2.00 per 100g, this would make 11 balls worth £22.00 if done in a single colour.  But I actually bought 12 balls in total on a 3 for 2 offer, so paid £18

Time spent:
There are 35 colour segments,  each segment has 4 rows of colour, that makes a total of 140 rows.
Each row took 20 minutes to complete making a total of 2800 minutes, which is roughly about 47 hours.

The edging took 80 minutes per round and there are three rounds, totalling 240 minutes, or 6 hours.  Added to the main total this makes a new total of 53 hours.

Then there was the sewing in off all those ends.  That took 3 hours in total.  (and a blister)  Added to the main total, this makes a new total of 56 hours.

If I was to use the UK's minimum wage of £6.31 this would mean that this blanket was worth £353.36

Add that to the material cost and the total finished blanket would cost .......


Wednesday 30 October 2013

Zentangle Class

On Monday night we held the 2nd Zentangle class at Hobbycraft.  Like the first, it went really well with everyone enjoying their new craft - even one poor lady who thought she was coming for a crochet class!

Busy, busy, doodling away.

Their finished work, although another lady worked so neatly and precisely, she only got a little bit done - but it was beautiful work.

Have you tangled yet?

Tuesday 29 October 2013

Shona's Ripple Blanket

On Friday 15th February 2013 I started a blanket for my daughter.

It was to be a colourful rainbow, I chose ten Hayfield Bonus DK colours and got to work.  I do like the Hayfield Bonus range,  it's a great washer and has a lovely colour range.

Some months later in July 2013 I had reached this stage.

Still not quite big enough to be a blanket, still some way to go.

A couple of weeks ago Shona found out she was to go into hospital for her tonsils out, and she made a request that her blanket was to be finished so she could snuggle in it to recuperate.  Even though she is 20 years old, she is still my little girl and how could I refuse?  I picked up my hook.

After a good few hours I decided it was long enough and began the edging.

Then there was the sewing in of the ends!  This took my 3 hours in total and gave my a blister on my finger from the sewing needle rubbing.  (Don't you just love blisters, the way they wobble about?   No?  Just me then!)

I decided to finish it off with a darker edging, so went back and did another round..... then another.

It still looked unfinished, so I edged it with a Crab Stitch - this is basically crocheting backwards and it adds a lovely braided edge.

It was now big enough to keep my feet warm while I worked  :)

At last, it was finished.  I feel elated, but a little bereft that I will no longer be working on this madly colourful blanket.

Now all we need is for those pesky tonsils to come out and she can take great comfort in snuggling up in it  :)

Monday 28 October 2013

Apple Crumble Cupcakes

This weekend I was invited to an "Eid Party". Not being Muslim I was not really sure what this was, I knew it was a celebration of sorts, but when dancing, singing and dressing up in party clothes was mentioned, I was in!

I had to 'take something for the table'.  Wow, what a mean feat. I know a few Asian ladies and every single one of them is a fabulous cook.  I can bash up a mean Spiced Treacle cake, could have made that?  Nah.... too easy.  What about Apple Crumble?  I had loads of apples from my tree to use up?  Nah.... what if there were no spoons, or bowls, or cream.  I could have made Spicy Veggie pasties?  Nah, they were based on a Samosa recipe and wouldn't have been half as good as some that might be already there.  Flapjack?  Nah, never quite sure how that's gonna turn out - it's always delicious, but sometimes it can be a bit sticky.

I know!  I will make something I have never made before.... in fact, let's take it a step further and totally mash up the recipe.  Yes, Sooz, that makes total sense  (my sarcastic side talking).

Apple Crumble (coz it won't leave my head) Cupcakes!

So I peel and stew the apples with cinnamon and sugar while Googling recipes.  Uh oh, they all seem to use raw apples - I've just cooked mine.

At last, I find something which uses a jar of apple sauce, this will do.

Quickly glancing at the pile of apples I am stewing - it's a lot - I decide to make Apple Crumbles at the same time  (once it's in there, in the depths of my brain, it's stuck)  I bash up a Crumble mix in my usual haphazard way of "chuck it all in a bowl and see what happens".  Let me try and remember the recipe (ish) for you.

12 oz Plain Flour
6 ox Butter
6 oz Sugar (whatever you have, mine was a leftover lump of brown topped up with white)
A good shake (teacup?) of Oats

Rub butter into flour, add sugar and oats  - yep, really.  That's it!

Ok, back to the cakes.  I am using THIS recipe from All Recipes.

I measured out the stewed apple to 280g as is a jar.  Added 1/2 tsp bicarb of soda and watched it bubble away like something out of a witches cauldron.  I liked this bit, it was all fluffy and foamy.

Then you cream the butter and sugar  (stick your whisks in and beat)

Slowly beat in an egg  (crack it straight in the bowl and beat)

Gradually add flour and apple sauce, folding it in (plonk them both in the bowl and beat)

Pop into cake cases...

.....and top with a spoonful of crumble mix. Pat down lightly and cook Gas 4 for 20 mins or so.

Well, they look ok.

They're a bit 'cloggy' & the crumble topping is a bit powdery, so not the best I have ever made I don't think... but passable. I just wont tell anyone I made them  ;)

Edit:  The Eid party was cancelled, which was a shame as I was looking forward to it.   I now have a box of Apple Crumble Cupcakes to take into work - I wont be able to deny making them as easily, but a sugar fix is a sugar fix when you are working, right?

Sunday 27 October 2013

Wet Felt Picture Making

We are lucky enough in Carlisle Hobbycraft to have some wonderful visiting artisans in who teach different craft classes.  On Friday, Julie Harrison came to do a wet felting class, of course I had to go along and have a play - I had not attempted wet felting before so was interested in how to do it.

She landed carrying an enormous amount of bits and bobs.

After a brief chat about the craft, it was playtime....

This is my attempt in progress...

First of all we got a piece of voile, folded in in half and layered some un-dyed roving wool onto it.

Next some colour - this is sky.

And some grass..... (and a brew)

Then some detail, can you tell what it is yet?  (It's a tree!!)

Leaves and apples  :)

Now it was time to pull the voile over the top and sandwich it all in.

Add some soapy water and push it through the voile to soak into the wool.

After a good vigorous rub, both front and back, I opened it up to find this  :)

Now to felt it down a bit.  We wrapped it round a foam roller, then into a towel and gave it a good few rolls back and forward on the bench  (250 rolls to be precise.)

Voila !  No idea what I am going to do with it, but it was fun to make.... and it helped trim a few millimetres off my bingo wings!

Here is my Mum, Vera, making hers.

Squeezing that water through the wool.

Pretty flowers.

Julie will be running another class soon, keep checking out the Hobbycraft, Carlisle website to find out when.

Saturday 26 October 2013

Vera's bolster

Do you remember the bolster cushion I made a little while back?

Well, my Mum has been popping along to my crochet class at Hobbycraft and decided to make herself one.

Here is it  :)  Lovely isn't it?

Meanwhile I am busy making another one for my sister, in red, cream and browns.  The colour is really working out well and I am just about finished, so will show you that one soon.

Friday 25 October 2013

The Owl & The Pussycat

Look what just popped into Hobbycraft!  Just had to have them and at the bargain prices of just £2.50 for the cat and £4.00 for the owl, how could I not?

To show how large they actually are, here is Mr Owl beside a regular sized carriage clock.

But what should I do with them?  Well, I haven't really thought about that as yet, just decided that I could do SOMETHING with them.  Perhaps crochet over them?

What do you think?

Thursday 24 October 2013

Crochet along .... Mandala (3)

If you are following my "Crochet along" series of posts, then this is number 3  :)

This pattern is written in UK Crochet terms, for a conversion chart please click HERE.

If you fancy having a go and crochet along with us you can find Part 1 HERE, and Part 2 HERE, which should get you to this stage.....

Today we will be using the stitches - TR (Treble)  Pop (Popcorn), HTR  (Half Treble), DTR (Double Treble),  CH (Chain), SS (Slip Stitch)

Away we go then :)

Attach a new colour in any space in between the clusters of 3 TR and 2 TR from the row below the last one (see photo).

Ch3, then do 4 TR in the same space  (5 TR in total)

Pull the loop up as shown, then insert your hook into the 1st stitch of that cluster.

Grab loop and tighten it around your hook.

Pull the loop through the first stitch.  This is called a Popcorn Stitch.

Chain 3 then repeat the popcorn stitch in the next space.

Repeat all the way round and SS to join.

Join new colour into one of the 3 chain spaces. Then CH1, HTR, TR, DTR, TR, HTR, DC.

Half Treble (HTR) is where you start to do a Treble stitch, put your hook through your work, pull yarn through leaving three loops on your hook, then wind your yarn over your hook and pull through all three stitches at once.  It is slightly higher than a double and slightly smaller than a treble.

Double Treble (DTR) is where you start to do a Treble stitch, but instead wrap your yarn round your hook TWICE. Put your hook through your work, pull yarn through leaving four loops on your hook, then wind your yarn over your hook and pull through two stitches (leaving 3), then yarn round, through two (leaving 2) then yarn round, through 2.  It is slightly higher than a Treble.

This form a little shell, or fan like pattern. In the next space work - DC, HTR, TR, DTR, TR, HTR, DC.
Repeat in each space.

Attach a new colour into one of the spaces between the fans, and CH4.

Dc into next 'fan space', CH4. 
Repeat all the way round then SS to join but don't cut yarn as we will be using it for the next row.

Bring your fan / petals through to the front.

Push a fan forward to work, you can push it back again later. 
CH3, then work 5TR's in the chain space, ***1TR in DC, 5 TR's in next chain space repeat from *** all the way round. (144 stitches)

That's the end of Part three.  Part four coming soon  :)

Previous parts can be found by clicking on the links below:

Remember, anyone who joins in with this crochet along and provides a photo at the end will be entered into a competition to win a lovely prize of a full set of coloured crochet hooks in a case just like this one...