Friday, 22 May 2015

At a loose end? What to do with leftover yarn...

So there was a great post shared by Rupert's House this week on using up yarn scraps.

I'm in the middle of trying to build up stock for the Autumn/Winter Craft Fair season, and trying to slim down what yarn I have in my desk (basically so I can justify buying some more).

I can't bear to let the smallest amount just get chucked away, but on the other hand that leaves a hidden box that is now bursting to overflowing with tangled scraps. So here are a couple of ideas for using up the ends...

Make a flower! 
This book is great and I'd really recommend having a copy stashed away for quick gifts and decorations. A definite go-to-resource (and helped me out with the structure of making the King Protea)


Make up some mini dot squares!

This is brilliant for using up the tiny odds and ends for the dot middles. Then just use a block colour for the outside -great effect!

Round 1) In scrap colour (about 1.7m) Ch3, in first ch, 15tr, join in a  circle and securely fasten ends.

Round 2) In block colour (I chose white) (1dc, 2dc in same stitch) all the way around. Join with slip stitch.

Round 3) Continuing in block colour, and working in the chain spaces, ch3, 3htr, tr, (3tr, ch2, 3tr = corner), then tr, 3htr, tr, corner and repeat all around. Join with a slip stitch and fasten in ends.

Make loads and stitch them together for cushion covers, place mats, blankets, cowls or anything!!

Mini-Mini dot Squares:

Round 1) In scrap colour (about 1m) ch2, then in first ch, 10dc, join with slip stitch and work in the loose ends.

Round 2)In first block colour (I chose light grey) 2dc in each dc all around, join with slip stitch.

Round 3) In second block colour (a dark grey), and working in the chain spaces, 4htr, (tr, ch2, tr = corner) around to make the square. Join with a slip stitch & fasten off.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Crochet a King Protea Flower -The Pattern xx

I was asked whether I could rustle up one of these flowers, and after I got over the fact that this is actually flower and not a Greek mythical character (ok, I'm not very botanical), I scoured Pinterest (for my board click here) and set about making it work.

This is basically a 3D ball shape to which you attach petals and leaves. It's actually a pretty straight-foward principle, you just need a little practice with working in the round (increases and decreases), and petals. There are some cool tutorials here. 

The only other tricky stitch is a 'long-stitch' (if someone has a proper name for it, please let me know and I'll edit!!). You work a couple of rows, then on the next row, you insert your hook, not into the regular dc below, but one or two rows below into the chain space. You wrap the yarn around the hook and pull through as normal, but the loop will be much longer and cover the previous rows. When you do several of these in a row, it looks like embroidered satin stitch.

So, lets protea...

You will need:

Small amounts (about 25g) of dk yarn or cotton, in white, pale pink, dark pink, light green and dark green.

A tennis ball sized ball of stuffing.

A 4mm hook, stitch marker (or safety pin) and tapestry needle.


In white (working in a spiral):

  • Chain 2, work 7dc into the second ch from hook. Place marker.
  • (1dc, 2dc in same stitch) for 2 rounds.
  • (1dc, 2dc in same stitch) in long-stitches for one round.
  • (1dc, 2dc in same stitch) for 1 round.
  • (1dc, 2dc in same stitch) in long-stitches for one round.
  • (1dc, 2dc in same stitch) for 1 round.
  • (1dc, 2dc in same stitch) in long-stitches for one row.
  • 2 rounds dc.
  • 1dc, 2dctog for three rounds or until there are 5 stitches left (stuffing as you go).
  • Fasten off, and thread needle through last stitches and pull to close. 

In pale green:

You are creating a series of loops, 12 ch long around the side of the main body of the plant.
  • Join into the side where you see the first dc after the long stitches.
  • Ch12, slip stitch into the next dc and repeat around.
  • I managed to make 26 loops in total, don't panic if a little more or less as long as it looks pretty even!
  • When you get back to the beginning, fasten off and sew in ends. 
  • Gently stretch each loop up towards the centre.

Make 10 in light pink, and 20 in dark pink (ten per row, three rows stitched on).

  • Ch12.
  • Up one side of the chain, starting in second chain from the hook, 2dc, 3htr, 2tr, 2htr, 2dc.
  • Ch2 (turns the corner).
  • Down the other side of the chain 2dc, 2htr, 2tr, 3htr, 2dc, join at top with a slip stitch.
  • Fasten off with a long end.
  • Leave one end loose for attaching.
Tip: Sew the long end from top to bottom through the base of the stitches in the middle on one side. Gently pull and the petal will curl a little. Then secure. 

Leaves in dark green:

Make 3 (or more if you want).
  • Ch16.
  • Up one side of the chain, starting in the second chain from the hook, 2dc, 3htr, 5tr, 3htr, 2dc.
  • Ch2 (turns the corner).
  • Down the other side of the chain 2dc, 3htr, 5tr, 3htr, 2dc. 
  • Fasten off with a long end.
  • Leave one end loose for attaching. 
Making it up:

  • Place the pale pink details first evenly around and attach, sewing on about two centimetres at the base. 
  • Place a row of dark pink petals in the petal spaces, slightly further down and attach.
  • Place a third row of petals in those gaps and secure.
  • Finally, attach the leaves. 

It doesn't matter if you have to bodge a little, as with all my patterns, you are allowed to break the rules a bit and adapt. I would just ask that you share my link if you post this pattern on any media and credit The Other Mrs Beaton accordingly. Happy making! xx

Friday, 15 May 2015

Getting back...

I hate those blog articles that people write when they've neglected their blog for ages and then decide to put the work in again...only to ignore it. Which exactly what one of these is.

I've been working away at another type of job -and kept the Mrs B thing ticking over on Facebook. Let's face it, it's quicker to post pics, and scribble 15 words and feel like your building your business the speedy way.

Sadly that doesn't leave time for the contemplative stuff. The 'mindfulness' when your mind is actually full and the kids are pressing 'shoot' buttons on the toy tanks and screaming. And there are soggy cheerios stuck on your Macbook.

And then you have a couple of knocks (things that need repairing, a customer that goes quiet) and you realise that having opted for the speedy entry into the craft community, your resilience is knocked.

So I write a little bit again (with a toddler firing a micro machine tank in my ear) without any promises that it will be more, but just because you are here, and I wanted more than 15 words to say: Sometimes this is hard. Fitting creativity into set hours of childcare doesn't always work. Getting where you want to go is tough. And there are still soggy Cheerio's on my screen.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Learn to Crochet: Week Two in the big Granny Square house...

So after the giddiness and down-right naughtiness of the previous week, the ladies of Balsham met again and wielded their hooks. And you know what, the swearing diminished. Everyone managed more than they had the week before -and newbie superstar Kate picked it up like she'd done in in a past life.

Despite a torrent of colds, chicken pox and general January snot-mageddon, squares were made -some even in multiple colours which is ace.I think the first two hours of learning a new skill are often the worst -get over the bump of making your fingers do something new and it does click. And there are less grazed knees than learning to ride a bike.

To top off the local crochet craziness, I also gave my first 1:1 lesson this week -proving that 2 tea fuelled hours can turned a knitter into a hooker. We got through a good deal of swearing in Afrikaans ( I can be rude in a couple of languages now), fought off the cat, ate cake and sped through chains to colour changes.

I think this blanket is growing....

Things I've learned  about passing on a craft skill:

1. Use light or bright colours -mums meet in the dark hours when the kids are asleep, or in January light. Dark blues are out, you just can't see them.

2. Sometimes just launching in is more effective than the baby steps, and keeps you motivated when there is quick success.

3. Swearing (in any language) is probably just going to have to be acceptable;

4. When you have a good reason to learn, no one gives in.

Monday, 12 January 2015

Starting out with a hook -Learning to crochet

I led my first class last week, teaching a group of school-mums how to hook. It was hard, for many reasons. Despite the fact that I love crochet and I'm a trained teacher, I had to teach adults, people I know how to do something that I want them to love as much as I do.

In November a shining bright lady asked me to teach her and her best mates how to crochet in the New Year. I was meant to keep it quiet as it was to be a surprise, a gift.  It was in a car park, after the school run, it was cold and with a curly headed monster of a two year old and a grumpy six year old (it was too wet for the park) in tow, I hastily agreed and bundled them in the car. As with most crafters at that time of year I was snowed under with Christmas stuff and thought no more of it.

By the following Monday, that lovely lady wasn't there anymore.

In December, some of the other mums asked me again. I said yes, of course. Then one particular mum thought it would be a good idea to learn granny squares. We could put them altogether and make a blanket she said, for our shining bright lady's two little stars. Done deal I said.

So after some lesson planning (hide fear in the routine of what you know!), resourcing (quell panic through retail therapy) and a last minute search for multiple hooks we were good to go.

That first lesson was hilarious. For those of a sensitive disposition I suggest you stop reading now. Have you gone? Excellent. "I can't get it in the hole", "my hole is all saggy", and "why have I gone tight?" are the politest offerings. Pure filth. Told you craft was ace.

But after two hours of utter concentration everyone had something to show for it. My knees were knackered from crawling around a living room floor (now then...) helping people out. Teaching a fine motor skill is a tricky one -sometimes you have no choice but to take someone's arm or hand and make them work the stitch to show them the movement. Diagrams and written instructions are all very well and good, but it's muscle memory that sticks.

I realised at 2am the next morning I'd made one stitch too complicated -the 'posh' version of a treble, that sits nicely especially in fine work but made my students go more cross eyed than perhaps needed. We can sort that next week. I also realised I talk too fast, impressing my impatience at wanting to move on , hurry up, get to the next thing because it's brilliant when you can do it!

Five (almost) mummy squares!

Here is what we made. Ok, the mums did the coloured bits and I've added the white borders to straighten it all out a bit and prove that even after only two hours you can make something pretty. With class No.2 coming up this week, I think we might be getting well on the path to learning a new skill, spending some time with good friends and remembering a fantastic lady that hopefully would approve xx