Verb: pootle
poo-t(u)l To move in a leisurely unhurried way,
with no real purpose


Sunday, 25 January 2015

By hook or by crook ...

I have made good headway with Megs blanket and have reached the point
where I'm getting excited about the finishing off bits.
 
 
I have to admit to this one being a bit of a slow starter ...
partly because I started it with a size 6mm hook and then after working
several cm's decided ( woman's prerogative and all that )
that I wanted a softer feel to the blanket so undid it all and
 started again with a bigger hook,
but also partly because of the hook I was using.
 

Because I changed my mind about the hook size I had to have a rummage
 in my drawer at the last minute and the gold metal one was the
 only one I had in the right size.
 
 
I think this set was one that I bought very cheaply when I first started
crocheting and I don't think I've actually used any of them up until now.
So, after re doing the big long starting chain I began again.
 
Yes, the blanket grew but it was all very slow and almost ,
dare I say it , hard work !
I know - never did I think I'd find crocheting a blanket arduous -
 but it just kind of was.
 
After a bit of thought I realised that it wasn't the wool,
nor was it that I had suddenly lost my crochet mo-jo -
 it was the bloomin' hook !
It just kept slipping about and wriggling as I was using it and it didn't let
 me get into any sort of regular pattern or stride.
 
I think I'd got so used to using my favourite hooks that I had taken for granted
 how much of a difference having the right hook makes.
 
It took a while to find my hook of choice,
going from wood to metal
 


 
 to metal with Fimo handles added,
( having seriously coveted Lucy's gorgeous hook over at Attic 24.)
But none of these felt right and when I came across hooks with soft grip handles
 it was a bit of a light bulb moment for me.
 
 
 
I bought a couple of black ones and they kept me happily hooking away for some time ...
but when I discovered you could get them in PINK there was no going back !
 
 
This photo makes my heart sing -
so much pink, crochet loveliness.
 
 
Anyway, to cut a rather long story short, a soft grip handled size
7mm hook was hastily ordered online,
and whilst it may not be pink,
its just the job and Megs blanket has come along at a cracking pace this past week.
 
Oooh, and just before I go, as a little PS to last weeks post ...
look,
it happened...
 
 
the cowl got edged...
 
 
I knew it was only a matter of time ...
a quick round of DC
followed by a round of 4 TR's in every stitch.
 
Wishing you a happy week of hooking
and if you get a minute I'd love to know your hook of choice.
 

Monday, 19 January 2015

Toastie ears.com !

 
Round our way its certainly been more than a little chilly lately -
so I thought I'd just pop by with a couple of very quick makes for keeping
 all those sticky out exposed bits as warm as toast.
 
Both projects are sooo easy -
 if you can knit, you can make these !
The first one is a super cute little headband for keeping your ears snuggly bug and
not being a lover of hats this is right up my street.
( Infact, I'm even wondering if I could get away with something like this at Megs wedding
 ... mmmmm .... probs a bit warm for August ! )


I found the pattern for this on Ravelry
( http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/bowtastic-earwarmer )
and its all worked in a simple Moss stitch.
I think this might be called Seed stitch in America and it is so simple,
 just a purl stitch, followed by a plain stitch all the way along the row,
 with the next row working the same stitches but with
  purls over the plains and plains over 
the purls in the previous row.
Easy peasy.
 
I made mine in some chunky yarn that I had left over from a blanket,
and it knitted up so quickly that I had it finished in a couple of evenings.

 
It's basically just a rectangle for the band,
 a smaller rectangle for the bow 
and an even smaller rectangle for the band that goes around the ribbon.
( For those who are not bow lovers some crochet flowers would look just as cute I reckon. )


As you can see from this hastily snapped photo yesterday
I am one very happy dog walker 
with very toastie ears.
So, ears sorted it was on to tackling that gap between where your 
coat ends and your headwarmer begins.
It has to be said that there is definitely not a shortage of either knitted or crocheted
 scarves in our house but I saw this wool on Friday and into my bag it went .
( I hasten to add that no shoplifting was involved and I did pay in full before leaving the shop ! )


It's a lovely soft super chunky weight called weekender from Stylecraft.
Grey, of course, was the colour of choice and I bought two balls.


There is no pattern for this as it couldn't be more simple.


Cast on 30 stitches and work in garter stitch until you have used both balls of wool,
 leaving a small amount to join the two ends together.



And there you have it ...
one snood/cowl/wrap around scarf.
I haven't actually taken this off today as whilst my office at Nursery is lovely 
and bright with lots of windows and a stable door, its also a tad chilly at times.
I'm still not quite sure I've finished it though 
as I'm very tempted to add some kind of a border ...
watch this space, I may be back with further additions.

Stay warm everyone.

Monday, 12 January 2015

A pompom pm ...

 
 
2015 has started with some very gentle pootling,
nothing too thought demanding,
nothing that needed to be done in a rush,
just a very simple make to breathe a little breath of fresh air into
our lounge after all the Christmas decorations have gone.
 
 
It's a little too early for a Spring flower garland
and I just can't bring myself to fill vases with daffodils too soon after Christmas
 - I need to feel the first tinglings of Spring for this.
So, instead, a pompom garland,
made in a soft, neutral tone,
maybe to suggest those cold frosty days that will still linger for a while.
 
 
And so the kitchen table became a little hive of pompoming activity on Saturday afternoon
- a pompom pm if you will !
 
 
No need to rush out and buy new yarns as this is the best way to use up all your leftovers -
 some cream chunky wool in my case -
and apart from that all you need is scissors, cord and of course ...
a pompom maker !
 
 
Now I am of the Blue Peter era where pompoms were made using two
cardboard circles cut out of a cornflake packet -
but oh, how times have moved on !
I have to confess to being more than a little stumped when I first saw a pompom  maker,
partly because I just couldn't imagine how the person who invented it had the
thought processes to design such a nifty little thing
 - its as far removed from two cardboard circles as it is possible to be !
 
 
And yes, further confessions, I had to look up a Youtube
 video to work out how to use it.
 
 
It just seemed to be an object of moving bits
with two curved arms that swung out and then, to add further confusion,
it came apart in the middle !
Writing all this now I realise how dim I was probably being as, once you
 know how, it couldn't be more simple.
 
 
You wind round one arm,
 
 
you wind round the other arm,
 

 you snip all the way round,

 
and tightly tie a piece of wool around the middle.

 
  Undo,
 
 
pull apart,


give your pompom a little trim
 


 and there you have it...

 

 a beautiful little pompom to do with what you will.
 
 
 It can be added to scarves, mittens, hats,
 cushions, blankets, clothing ... 
 ... you decide !


 Mine were destined for a garland,
so were threaded onto some thin piping cord.

 
 
 and ceremoniously hung on the fireplace !
 

Otto very much wanted to be in this photo
and he also wanted me to point out that no,
he absolutely has not had a little nibble of the pompoms - as if !


And what better than afternoon of pompoming ?
Someone else to pompom with !
 

 
It turns out that Beth is a bit of dab hand at the old pompoming,
and whipped up a very pretty string of pastel pompoms for her room.
 

 
There was chit chat, there were sleeping dogs,
there were biscuits and there was tea ..
what more you could you ask for of a Saturday afternoon.
 
 
 
 

Sunday, 4 January 2015

A quick glance over my shoulder ...

  
It's that time again ... that time for a little reminisce ...
that time of the year where lots of bloggers put together a
look back through their last years makes.
I so enjoy looking at these posts
and there's something very pleasing about putting one together isn't there ?
 
Maybe its that sense of achievement, possibly even a little surprise,
 that in amongst the busyness of daily life there has still been time for lots of crafting.
For me, looking back at my 2014 makes has shown me that maybe I'm
not just a boring one colour blanket person after all, and that,
infact, you could almost say that I have dipped my toe into 'colourful' in this past year.
 Ok, so not exactly rainbow bright colours, but colours nevertheless !
 
And also that having convinced myself that I'm not a lover of small crochet projects
 I have kind of proved myself wrong on this too,
as I have loved working on projects that are small and quick.
For this I have to totally thank all of you other lovely bloggers
who have opened my eyes to the endless yarny possibilities that are out there
with all the wonderful inspiration and encouragement your blogs give.
 
Aaaanyway .... enough of the words, we need pictures !
So, here we go.
 
 
The year started with the chance to finish off long overdue things, one of
I love everything about this blanket, from the pleasure I had making it and watching it grow,
to the cosiness and colour it brings to our caravan now that it is finished.
 
 
 My love affair with grey has continued right through the year,
 but way back at the end of January it seems I was verging on the obsessive with my
 love for this colour as I dedicated a whole post to it !
 
 
Spring brought with it a good splash of pastel brights and also a renewed love of knitting.
In my passion for crochet I had forgotten how much I love the look of
 simple garter and stocking stitch.
 
 
With Easter fast approaching it was green, green, green all the way.
I had a little go at Mandala making, but stuck with a simple treble stitch,
not being a great lover of crochet that is too lacy or holey,
and of course it had to have bobbles around the edge !
 
 
With a flurry of shawls and wraps hitting blogland I tried my hand at a couple
of knitted versions and really, really enjoyed making these.
One of the best bits for me was the magic of blocking -
how brilliant is it when you can get all the little pointy bits to stay as little pointy bits !
 
 
 I had a lot of fun putting together my entry for the Deramores Blog Awards 2014
and was more than a little chuffed to receive a Highly Commended from the judges.

 
 


Summer warmth and the chance for a little alfresco hooking prompted me to
 smarten up the little sitting area outside my back door -
and it goes without saying that of course I needed crochet cushions to finish it off !

 
 
 
One of my funnest makes this year has to have been all the little 3D hearts that
 have whizzed off my crochet hook
- so quick, so simple and so many possibilities !


 
The one constant throughout all my different makes of the year has been that there
 has always been a blanket on the go - a trusty piece of work that doesn't require any
thought but just offers hours of repetitive backwards and forwards crochet therapy
 - perfect at the end of a long day at work.
There have been blankets for daughters to take off to Uni,
blankets as presents for friends,
blankets for new arrivals and blankets for sofa snuggling.
 

And then I discovered garlands !
Sooooo much fun.
The perfect way to keep my fireplace looking suitably seasonal throughout the year.
Plans are already ticking over in my head for a spring version ...

 


 
 
I loved my Autumn garland so much it almost ended up staying right through Christmas -
there was just something about those little acorns !
 
 
The year ended with a mad frenzy of activity to make sure all the Christmas presents
were finished in time -and lots of resolutions being made to start earlier next year -
 but I just about got everything done by the skin of my teeth.
And that's it - that was my 2014 !

 Its been fun, I've loved every therapeutic minute and the opportunity to share it all in the big wide blogging world has been the cherry on top of the cake.
I am very nearly at 100,000 views on my little bloggy space,
which quite blows my mind and the addition this year of
my Just Pootling Facebook page has allowed me to post even the smallest
 of Pootles that don't quite justify a whole blog post of their own.
 
I have lots and lots of yarny projects planned for 2015,
least of all approximately 40 hearts needs to be crocheted for my
daughters wedding in the summer...
so, I'm off to get started.
 
Happy New Year everyone
and I hope you'll all be able to drop by for lots more Pootling in 2015.