Sunday, 30 June 2013

Loose Ends

Yup, lately I have been tying up many of these loose end things. Since I lost got a chance to write, I have been hooking up a few things and completing some of those projects that have been going on an age. I still have one rather large one in the pipeline but I did manage to cross a couple off my to do list!
Months and months ago I spotted a bolster cushion on a visit to John Lewis. It was a feathery one too - I never usually go for these but it felt so nice and squishy. Since then, I've been keeping an eye open for stitches or granny squares I like to make a cover for it. I never really found anything that stood out enough to transform the bare white bolster to an explosion of colour. It went on the backburner for quite some time. Until I discovered the moss stitch. I saw a couple of pictures on Pinterest which really jumped out at me, and I thought, I really have to give this stitch a go, but what can I make... the obvious answer, the Bolster! It also gave me a chance to use up some more Lily Sugar n' Cream yarn that I ordered with the bolster in mind months ago. 
I was still in two minds whether to do each row a different colour to give a tweedy effect, or whether to alternate cream yarn in with the colours to give a spotted look. I eventually opted for the latter. So I'd hook up some rows until it was big enough to stretch around the cushion, without being saggy or gappy. Sorted. Then the ends - 2 circles. There was only one thing for this - the Made in K-Town Mandalas! Yes! I got to hook up 2 more of those! I knew they would be a bit big in their entirety, but i would keep going until they were the right size. I love making these, so didn't have to think too hard about choosing these for the ends. 
With the main body parts made, it was a case of stitching them together. Once I stitched the main 'spotty' body to form a tube around the cushion, it became evident that it was a bit 'gapey' at the ends. I counted my stitches and worked out how many times I had to decrease to get to the number of stitches on the outside of the mandala - which was 72. I then staggered the decreases evenly around the end. I also worked a couple of plain single crochet rounds around the edge of the mandalas in order to pull them in around the cushion. I then sewed it all up using a simple whip stitch, and voila, the Bolster!

I'm pleased with it, after so long deciding how to do it, it's nice to have it sitting there all finished and ready for action. Which mainly involves being squished behind me or under the little Lady. She has dubbed it 'Mummy's cushion' and she has claimed the first ever cushion I made last year, the Puffy Flower cushion! So we each sit with our cushions on the sofa watching Peppa Pig in the morning, noon and night. 
Here's a close up of those moss stitches...

and a montage. I think it deserves one!

The moss stitch is so simple to do, yet so effective and can be used in many ways to create different effects (see this blog here). I shall definitely be using it again (and already have, making some pretend oven gloves for Little P as she keeps stealing the real ones when they are needed!)

Little oven gloves... not for use in a real oven!

It is basically just single crochet one, chain one, skip a stitch and do it all over again. I started by chaining an even number a bit longer than I needed, as it does shrink up somewhat. Then I sc in 2nd chain from hook, ch1, skip 1 chain and repeat until the end. You then either chain 1 and turn, working the same pattern, or join a new colour in. You need to be chaining over your stitches in the previous row, and sc'ing into the chain spaces, and as long as you get that right, you'll end up with a nice square piece. When joining a new colour on the second row, you need to start with a slip stitch in place of the chain (you can't just join with a chain!) and then sc into the next stitch and continue as usual. To get the spotted look like my cushion, I worked 2 rows of cream, then a colour, 2 rows of cream, then another colour etc etc. It just so happened to work out that I used 3 repeats of my colour pattern, but I didn't plan this - it was luck!

Also flying off the hook this week was my first item of clothing. A cardigan for the Little Lady, who is due to be a bridesmaid for my Auntie at the end of July. She has the most beautiful dress and shoes but we worried she may get a little cold around the shoulders - well you can't expect it to be hot in July can you?! We thought just a short, bolero type thing would be best - nothing bulky. I wanted to have a go at making one, as I've never made something to fit before (just a couple of hats) so this would be new territory for me.
I trawled the wonderful Ravelry for patterns and my heart resided with this one, the Sunburst Cardigan. I didn't mind buying a pattern as long as I really liked it and knew it would be suitable. The stitching in this is so pretty and the pattern gets good reviews - it has lots of pictures, charts and very clear instruction - perfect for the clothing novice! 
I already knew the yarn for the job before I started (that limited my search to pattern for DK weight yarn) - Sirdar Snuggle Baby Bamboo in Cream, and I had plenty of it. Then came the sizing, the pattern has various size guides, but I know my Little Lady is a titch, so I made the size 18 month one - a size down from her age. 
To begin with the chain and first few rows looked really long and I was worried it would be too big, but as it went on it began to take it's proper shape and it seemed fine. You have the option of cap sleeves of longer, puff sleeves. I opted for the latter as the cap sleeves wouldn't have really made much difference. I will try and get a picture of it being modelled some time in the future, but no luck so far! So here it is!

and a closer look at the pretty stitches...

The other excitement this week has been the release of Clue 1 of FreshStitches new Mystery Crochet-A-Long. The last one was great fun (even if I wasn't overly smitten with the final product), but that not knowing what you are making is quite fun. A lot of the guesses on the Ravelry group seem to be pointing to Kangaroo, possibly with baby. I'm not convinced by this argument, but have no suggestions to put forward myself as I genuinely have no idea at this stage! This pattern calls for only one colour yarn, so I went with a variegated yarn - King Cole Bamboo Cotton Prints. I love it colours (and Little Lady picked it out too) so it was a no-brainer. 

The pieces of Clue 1...

A close up of the lovely yarn...

I am so excited already about Yarndale in September and have been making a few granny bunting triangles for the cause. I have only made 6 so far, and some people seem to have made loads, but every little helps right? Plus I hooked up a shameless self-plug of a triangle... my blog logo! At least I'll be able to spot it at Yarndale right?!

and the others...

In other news, I have been watching bits and pieces of Glastonbury on the BBC, and realising how out of touch I am with popular music and culture. I am officially old. But hey ho, I'd rather be that way I think than like some of those little yobs! So until next time, I'm going to go and sit in the sun whilst it makes a brief appearance!


  1. That cushion is beautiful - I love the way the colours alternate with white. Your bunting is great too - the buttons are such a good idea. Just discovered your blog and I really like your style ^__^

    1. Thanks so much! Love the cushion too, that moss stitch looks great with the white in between... Think i will be using it a lot more!