Noodles for my Noodle

I’ve been set a crochet challenge this weekend. What can I make from a ball of James C. Brett Noodles? It’s very stretchy, chunky, pure polyester and boy is it bright! 

 I like this fresh green colour. I’m a big fan of greens. Noodles comes in a range of bright, sherberty shades and I’d like to combine this with turquoise perhaps. I wanted a quick mini project so decided on a nice, stretchy headband.  

  I consulted my go-to guide book for ideas, Basic Crochet Stitches by Erica Knight. My copy is full of bits of paper marking pages with stitches I want to try some day.  

 There are 250 to choose from so it’s brilliant value and great for trying new crochet techniques. It’s also incredibly easy to follow with one stitch per page and a handy diagram plus clear photo of each stitch. I’ve had mine for about five years now and have used it to create a number of scarves, blankets and other small projects.  

 I chose to try the Two-leaf Bar, which combines double crochet with double trebles. 

 It was a fun stitch to work, quick to do, and the two rows of dc on either side of the leaf motifs gave the head band some structure. I’d recommend working a smaller number of starting chain than you think you will need as it is so stretchy. The Noodles was nice to work with and all in all a successful mini project I think. 

     

  

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T-shirt Prettification

 

Like lots of people I’ve been enjoying the Easter weekend spending time with family, going for walks in between rain showers, scoffing chocolate and planning egg hunts for my kids.

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Yesterday I found myself unexpectedly free for  an afternoon as my eldest was out at the cinema and my youngest had an impromptu nap.  I’ve been thinking about attempting a re-fashion project for a while so, inspired by some very pretty pillowcases I’ve seen online with crochet edging, I decided to give it a go.
 This cheap green T-shirt shrank in the wash and wasn’t really long enough. As you can see, the hem was also starting to unravel. I love bright, contrasting colours so I chose to add a crocheted edge in Stylecraft Classique Cotton in Mauve, Azure and Tropical Jade, complementing the bright green fabric.
I began by sewing a round of blanket stitch which I could then crochet into and which sorted out that unraveling hem.

 Next I crocheted a round of double crochet in Mauve (US single crochet) followed by trebles in Tropical Jade then half trebles in Azure.

I was rather pleased with how my experiment was going and decided to add some frillyness with a final round of shells (*dc skip 1 htr 5tr cluster in next htr skip 1 htr* repeat ** to end).
 Hey presto! One new, longer, repaired, colourfully embellished T-shirt, completed in an afternoon for very little cost. Just in time to wear on Easter Sunday. Next job, to make fairy cakes for the annual egg hunt. Happy Easter!

Time for Crochet

Things have been super busy round here just lately, being a working parent leaves little “me” time at the moment. This week, though, I’ve had two actual days to myself, off work with my kids in school and nursery. Very rare indeed!  

I’ve been having a great time working on some new scarf ideas, trying a few stitches out. And ignoring all the boring jobs I should be doing, like clearing out the cupboard under the stairs. The spring flowers are looking rather lovely out in the garden and my son’s yellow blanket is making some progress now.

  
He’s on the case checking its progress daily and also reminding me to write my blog.  

As much as I enjoy getting stuck in to making blankets, I’ve always favoured smaller projects, like baby blankets and scarves.  They’re portable for one thing and so quick to finish. Plus I can afford the really nice yarn if it’s in small quantities. Not the really, really nice yarn but still, the less synthetic the better if its going to be worn on a bare neck or snuggled  round a tiny baby.

  I tried some shells and v stitches, nice for a summer baby blanket maybe.

  I think these v stitches interspersed with colourful doubles would work nicely on a scarf, or a tank top.

  I wasn’t as keen on these open chevrons, they got frogged, because I kept being a stitch out on each successive row.

  I also started work on a one ball scarf, very simple, quick and chunky using the Sirdar Indie I bought the other week. I like the idea of designing very easy, affordable projects for beginner crocheters, to help encourage more people to give it a try. More on that to follow.    

As a newbie crochet blogger I’ve been inspired by lots of crochet blogs these last few weeks and learning a lot. There really is some amazing work out there and a very supportive, encouraging community of crafters. I’ve been following lots of them on Twitter. Do say hi if you’re one, I’m @crochetcaptain

Happy Yarn Day

So I’ve taken the plunge and posted my first pattern here on my blog. It’s a simple but colourful scarf, I hope you like it!  I’ve been crocheting for a very long time now and found I preferred making up my own projects to following written patterns. In recent years I’ve got the hang of pattern reading, after much practise, but I still really enjoy experimenting.

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There’s nothing like a trip to the yarn shop for inspiration.  Just look at that lot for a colourful haul! With my kids at their grandparents house for a couple of hours I high-tailed it to the Black Sheep Wools craft barn for a wonderful long, unfettered browse. Firstly I chose some soft, chunky Sirdar Indie to experiment with. I’d like to make a cowl using very basic stitches, maybe a one ball, very affordable beginners project.  I couldn’t decide which colour I liked better so went for it and got both my faves, they were in the bargain corner after all.

Then I chose several balls of Stylecraft Classique cotton in some stunning bright shades. I’ve got two projects in mind for this yarn, some kind of jumper or tank top (depending how far I can stretch the yarn supply!) and a go at designing some bright mandalas.

 Lastly, I raided the oddments basket and got two balls of beautiful Noro in different colours, for the absolute bargain price of £2.50 each. Resisting a bargain in a wool shop is futile, I’m sure you’ll agree.

I couldn’t wait to get started so headed to the Three Bags Full cafe for a luxury hot chocolate and made a start on my next make. Hurray for yarny goodness (and babysitters)!

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Got a bit further on with new project this afternoon, yay!

Crafty Friends

 

 

Last night my friends came over for our regular craft night. Lots of blankets were worked on and we also had a good browse through a stack of craft magazines. All accompanied by a big pot of earl grey, chocolate cake with cream and banana & white chocolate muffins.

We meet at each other’s houses and sometimes in cafes, although there aren’t many which stay open late enough in the evening where we live. Over the years we have tried meeting in pubs (too sticky with beer when your yarn falls on the floor) and bars (too much thumping music) and most recently raised an eyebrow or two with our hooks out at an Italian restaurant (we all ate dinner first of course).

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Over the years we have experimented with many different crafts, including felting, jewellery making, screen printing, sewing, making toiletries, up-cycling clothes and painting furniture. We will try anything once and have found some of us have a particular talent for each new craft. There is the odd disaster too, my cake pops were entirely forgettable, each one sliding lumpenly down the lolly stick in a globby mess, while others in the group made great ones. It’s all part of the fun though and lately we have all been making crochet blankets, a longer term project with less planning and preparation needed.

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Chunky, warm blanket in progress

One of our happy group took the lead on organising, which helped enormously to make it a success. We all chip in though, taking turns to host and help source materials and ideas. Over time we have all got busier, with work and/ or growing families so we have become less focused on trying new crafts and more on enjoying a good old catch up. I love the craft group, it always lifts my spirits seeing good friends and we have our own traditions, like a meal out at Christmas and a fantastic hand made version of Secret Santa.

 

Rainy Day, City Craft Fun

 

A rainy grey lunch hour in Manchester City centre can mean only one thing. A quick trip to the Northern Quarter for craft based cheer.

Firstly I needed a yarn fix, so headed up Tib Street, leaping across a few puddles, to craft giant Abakhan.
Check out this huge wall of woolly joyfulness:

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Browsing the books I found one about arm knitting, which is now on my list of things to try, along with finger crochet and leg weaving (okay I made that last one up).

Now I’m not sure what these poor little fellas had done to deserve this fate…

 … but they were beautifully made. Meanwhile, this prettiness caught my eye:


I do like a variegated yarn, but what colour to choose?  I went for this one:

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Not another YONKU  but purchased for the purpose of designing a mandala, a sort of psychedelic doily for the modern era.

After achieving woolly purchase buzz, I headed round the corner to lovely Manchester Arts and Crafts Centre for a mooch.

Where I found some gorgeous hand crafted delights. Amazing paper sculptures by Kate Kelly:

You can see more of her work here . Lots of fabulous jewellery and some nice knitted and crocheted items made me wish I had some spends.

Fully re-fuelled on crafty happiness I traipsed back through the wind and rain to my office.

Springtime Stash

 

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When my mum gave me this great antique basket for my birthday I knew it would make an ideal home for my stash. Well a portion of it at least! I keep my prettiest y.o.n.k.u.s (yarn of no known use) in it. You know, those balls of yarn you can’t resist buying, often in a sale section but don’t have a particular project in mind for. No? Just me then.

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My latest is this gorgeous ball of Noro, given to me by my sister.  But what shall I make from it? Suggestions gratefully received in the comments section below.

Things are getting springy in my garden, the daffodils are out and my son’s very-yellow-indeed blanket is starting to progress.  I got the pattern from blanket maestro Lucy Attic 24 (it’s the “Cosy Blanket” if you want to look it up, the colours in her pattern are a feast for the eyes!) and am working a smaller version as it’s going to be a snuggle on the sofa blanket for a child.  Very enjoyable project so far.

This week I’ve completed my stripy scarf, made from leftovers from a  CAL (crochet along for the uninitiated) blanket and have a lot of ends to weave in but I like how it’s turned out.  I’m planning to post a pattern so watch this space if you’d like to make one. It’s a good beginners project, very simple and quick to make.

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Aye Aye Captain!

Welcome to my brand new blog about crochet! I’m excited to get going and have lots of ideas to share with you. My grandma was a prolific crocheter and I remember  watching her with interest as a child, as she created everything from jumpers to poodles to vivid pink matching dresses for me and my sister (it was the 1970s).  When I was nine, she was visiting one Christmas and taught me to crochet, a skill I have loved using over the years.

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Me enjoying a nice cup of tea in the cafe at Black Sheep’s excellent craft barn. Followed by a slice of delicious lemon and ginger cake, yum!

 

I’ve made many small projects (I’m a bit impatient so the bigger projects tend to lurk in my UFO pile) including scarves and baby blankets.  I’m currently enjoying making some blankets and just completed my first crochet along, the very enjoyable and popular Black Sheep Wools/ Cherry Heart “Spice of Life”.  I worked mine in Cherry Heart’s beautiful original colours in Baby Rico with my pack from Black Sheep Wools and am now working on a very enjoyable spin off project using the remaining yarn. This yarn is super soft and will make a lovely warm stripy scarf.

I visited Black Sheep’s fantastic wool barn this week and worked on my scarf in the cafe, where I met a kind photographer visiting her family from Germany who took these photos (photos copyright A. Wegner-Demmer.) what an inspiring and happy place to spend some time. I bought some lovely new yarn in five shades of yellow for a new blanket for my biggest little one, who REALLY likes yellow! A truly sunny happy project, can’t wait to see how it turns out.

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I’ve named my blog Captain Crochet because I love history, museums and all things vintage and crochet was the traditional craft of the boat women who first steered working narrow boats along the inland waterways 200 years ago. They would crochet as they went along, easier than knitting to pick up and put down without dropping a stitch as they stopped to open lock gates or load cargo.  They made the most beautiful fine lacy cabin crochet and warm woolly blankets too.  When I googled Captain Crochet it amused me to find that Capitaine Crochet is French for Captain Hook and my third reason is that I like superheroes, so maybe I’ve just invented a new one.  But what super powers does our Captain Crochet possess? I have yet to find out…