Engagement Round Tablecloth

Last year I decided to try making something a bit more ‘old school’ and in a 3 ply so embarked on making Elizabeth Hiddleson crochet pattern from Volume 14 called the Engagement Round Tablecloth.

My first challenge was to find a pattern that I could actually work with, but after some heavy Googling I found enough to get me going. And it was rough going…I don’t think I’ve ever frogged some much of my work on a piece before! I made lots of mistakes, and had to keep going back to fix them. I’m sure that I must have crocheted the thefirst 20-30 rows at least twice!

I started this in March 2019, and didn’t finish it until July 2020, but in between I made a baby blanket for my nephew so overall I think it probably took about 10 months. Not that this really gives you any idea of the effort since it obviously depends on how often, for how long and how fast I crochet. I didn’t complete the entire pattern. I skipped from about row 61 to about row 82, but if you look closely enough you’ll see the bit I left out.

Despite the amount of frogging (which got less as I got into the swing of it), I really enjoyed working on this. Below are all the pattern pieces that I used. If they don’t download very large, I would suggest cutting and pasting into a MS Word document and stretching it to make it bigger, then printing.


Grand-Nephew’s Baby Blankets

I’m a bit behind my posts (hmm, by a year?) You’d think that with all this terrible Covid lockdowns going on, I’d have done some but it just didn’t enter my mind! So, a little bit of catch up to be done! In the past year I’ve become a Grand-Aunt twice which of course is a fantastic opportunity to whip up a couple of baby blankets.

For my neice I wanted to make something delicate. The downside was that each row took me about half an hour! I calculated that if I was going to get it made in time I’d have to do one row a day, or equivalent thereof. And over Summer, which is when I tend to crochet less. Nevertheless, I got it done, and due to the timeframes it was a pretty well travelled blanket as I took it away with me on every holiday!

For my nephew I went more traditional, and made a yellow wool blanket. I had already started on a new blanket that I knew I’d never finish in time (and I was right!) and so I had to park that to make him one. After making my niece’s blanket I wanted to make something less intense and quicker to make.

Butterfly Mobile

I’m not very good with just sitting.  I’m OK if I have something to do or a book to read but due to such high levels of stress in the last quarter of 2017 my attention span was like that of a gnat!  Thankfully though I could still crochet… and wanted to.  I guess that’s one of the great things about this type of hobby; you can pick a project of any size to suit the time you have, or your inclination.

Hubby was in hospital after 16 hours of surgery.  He’d survived that, so big tick in a box.  The next hurdle was surviving the recovery, and the expectation had been set that he could be in hospital for about a month.  I was extremely fortunate enough to have been given compassionate leave from my employer so I could spend as much time as I needed to being by his side.

My husband and I had always been one of those couples who could contentedly sit side by side doing our own thing.  We never felt the need to fill the space with conversation unless we wanted to.  So while hubby napped, had the many hospital staff coming and going or he surfed the net, I crocheted.  Butterflies.  Many butterflies.Frances Butterfly Mobile 2

They were easy, I had the pattern committed to memory, and I could feel a sense of achievement as I finished each one.  I don’t know how many I made, but it was enough to make two babies mobiles.

Frances Butterfly Mobile 1.jpg

And it was a month. But he didn’t get to tick the second box to mark recovering from the surgery, instead sadly passing away four weeks after his surgery.  😦

Lady Dee’s Gradient Yarns

I can’t recall how I came across this yarn. Pintrest? Google? Ravelry? Either way, what a find!! I love these yarns. The only downside is the price (although to be fair, it’s probably not as bad as I think) and the shipping, oh, and that I have no choice but to buy online.

Still, all is quickly forgiven when they arrive. I am totally in love with Lady Dee’s Traumgarne! These gradient yarns are adorable, and means no more messing about with multiple balls of yarns, manually changing colors. And of course the colors merge from one to another softly, unlike just changing the color of yarn.

Probably the one struggle, if I had to think of one, was finding a good pattern. I tried a couple but I felt like a battled with the pattern the whole way through. So, I’ve settled on my favorite, and it’s varied enough that there’s no chance of getting bored! Double win!

I got this great pattern off Ravelry; it’s called Edlothia by Jasmin Rasanen. If you Google it you’ll find loads of wonderful example. Here are the two shawls that I made:

Another pattern that I tried was Schal Quiraing by Sylvia Bangert.  Again, if you Google it you’ll find loads of examples.  I found it a bit too repetitive, but sometimes that’s just what you’re looking for

The choice of color mixes is so wonderful, and such a variance from plain “normal” yarn that it really is irresistible.  One thing I did find was that when I got about 80% through the ball, you have to be careful so that you don’t get it tangled.  Trust me when I say that you don’t want to spend your Saturday evening untangling it!

Give them a go, you won’t regret it!

Back to Blogging

It’s been just over two years since I last posted here and a lot has happened in that time, the worst of it being the passing of my lovely husband in November 2017.  Four years earlier he’d started having weird issues with his voice such as totally losing it when in very loud environments that meant to you had to shout to be heard, and sometimes it was a bit “croaky”.  After a few months of this I packed him off to the doctor, and a bunch of tests later he was confirm as having Laryngeal cancer.  Essentially he had cancer in one of his vocal cords, which was very surprising to us since he had never smoked a cigarette in his life and was otherwise very fit and healthy – he would go for runs 6 days of the week!

After nine hours of surgery in August of that year he was declared cancer free!  Needless to say, we were thrilled, but little did we realise that this was by no means the end of things.  It turned out that MVM was a superstar at growing granulation tissue, and over the following 3+ years he had a further dozen surgeries and procedures to cut it out and try to make his voice louder.

Then in early 2017 we found out that he was also really good at this cancer growing business too.  He was diagnosed with recurrent Laryngeal Cancer, and had another Tracheotomy so he could breath; the new tumour was crushing his windpipe.  35 sessions of radiology and three of chemo later he was diagnosed with secondary cancer; now in his trachea (windpipe).  The doctors were astounded that even during his treatment he managed to grow more cancer!  Last ditch efforts were 16 hours of surgery to remove the entire contents of this throat, and a few other bits and pieces, after which to our devastation, he still had cancer.  Four weeks later his carotid artery gave way and he passed away in the night while still recovering in hospital.

Since then it’s been a roller coaster ride of emotions; even though I knew in my heart several months before he passed that I would be losing him, nothing prepared me for the depth of grief I feel.  In hindsight I was very naïve about the difference between losing people who are important and close to you versus having your spouse die.  It’s like grief on steroids!  

I initially ploughed through my grief, facing it head on.  About three months in I got a Tattoo on an inner ankle to remember him by…two hearts crossing each other.  If you look closely enough you’ll see his initials of MVM. 


Now, nearly two years later I am weary from the grief.  When will it end?  When will I feel normal again? Happy? Whole?  What is normal now?  Certainly this experience has changed me.  Being in a relationship for 15 years changed me.  

Still, life does keep moving forward, and the goal is to get up every day and try my best to live life.  Hence the decision to get back to blogging; I have been crocheting again so have some wonderful projects to share with you all!

On that note, I’ll check out, and catch you soon with my next entry! 


Cute Little Booties

I was in-between crochet projects when the neighbours daughter gave birth to their first grand-daughter.  I had seen on Pintrest a set of booties that were consider quick and extremely easy to make, so I thought I’d whip up a couple of pairs.

Crossover Booties 1I have to say that I didn’t find the pattern very easy to follow, which seems surprising when you know that it’s a basic “T” shape, but I couldn’t understand the “ch 2” at the beginning of each row and then skipping the first SC from the previous row.  If you google “Crossover Booties for Crochet” you’ll easily find the pattern which is by Louise Mac.  I ended up ditching my efforts and searched for an alternative pattern.

I found another pattern on You Tube that used Half Double Crochet stitches, and logically the pattern made more sense to me.  This pattern is by Jayda Institches and are called Wrap-Style booties.  You can find the video here.

The second pair that I made were with 4 ply Merino yarn.  I followed the basics of the pattern, but converted it to:

Ch 41, DC 39 x 4 rows.
ST into the 4th row to start the middle section.  I can’t remember exactly which stitch I used, but I’m sure you can work it out.  Then DC 9 stitches x 7 rows.  I made some cute little flowers and stitched them on.

Crossover Booties 2

They certainly are extremely cute, and I think that you could easily adjust the pattern to make different sized booties.  And there would of course be lots of fun options for little motifs to attach to them.

Cable Stitch using Crochet

Cable Blanket 2I wanted to challenge myself with some new patterns, and so found a pattern for a blanket that produced a cable effect that I’ve only previously associated with knitting.

I had a good look around the internet and on Ravelry and decided on the “Cable your Love” Blanket by Nirmal Khalsa which you can find on Ravelry.

My original plan was to make an entire blanket in one colour, which I’ve never done before.  But half way through making it, I had to put the project on hold and whip up a baby blanket for someone who’s baby had arrived early (i.e. I hadn’t yet made their blanket).  I used some of the yellow yarn, and knew that I wasn’t going to have enough to finish the Cable stitch blanket.  I couldn’t risk buying some more and having a different batch that didn’t quite match…something that is really obvious when it’s all one colour.  So, I added two white panels, and as far as the stitches went, the end result was that only the middle panel was according to the pattern.  I just mixed and matched the cable stitches from the pattern for the thinner panels.

I hemmed it with a simple *dc 2, ch 2, dc 2* in every 4th stitch, then a second row of single crochets.

Cable Blanket 1

The final product was quite a heavy blanket, which is really only one sided.  It was great to give something new a go, and initially I did find it quite challenging so mission accomplished! 🙂

Superbly Simple Blanket

Michael Powar Baby Blanket 2Over the years I have managed to set an precedent that if I know you, and you’re having a baby, you can expect to get a pram sized baby blanket from me.  This goes for all the men that I work with too.

One of my staff’s wife was pregnant with their first child, so I had mentally put that into my crochet calendar that I have in my head.  I was part way through making a cable stitch blanket, when low and behold….baby arrives early, and was actually born in an ambulance on the side of the highway!  Crisis on the blanket front since I hadn’t even started it!

Ravely to the rescue; I found the “Superbly Simply Blanket” by Heather C Gibbs.  And superbly simple, it was!  And fast……perfect!

Michael Powar Baby Blanket 1I give the borders of my blankets quite a bit of consideration; not all edges suit all patterns and the wrong border can ruin the look of a great blanket.  I thought that this blanket needed something simple, and I needed something that was going to be quick so went with the Reverse Single Crochet Stitch, which I’ve never used before.  You can google it, or you can find it here on Dummies.com.


Enchanted Garden Blanket

Enchanted Garden Blanket 2The New Zealand Summer of 2016/2017 will probably go down in records as being one of the lousiest Summers we’ve ever had.  It was cold, wet and windy right through December, January and February.  In March Summer decided to finally make a brief appearance before Autumn arrived.

The only up side to having a Summer that feels like Winter, is that the crocheting may continue (sometimes having a wool blanket on my knee while I stitch it can be just too hot in Summer).

The ‘theme’ for this blanket, when I went searching for a pattern, was to make something with granny squares around the edge, as opposed to being 100% made up from squares.  I found this really sweet looking “Enchanted Garden” granny square by Claire Norden, that became the basis for the design.  As usual, I used 8 ply machine washable wool, given that I was making it for use by a baby or toddler.

Enchanted Garden BlanketI was very happy with the overall look of the blanket….so much so that it has been put away for now.  I love the colour combination and some day I hope that it will brighten up someone’s nursery.

Vegan, Gluten Free, No-Bake Apricot Slice

piha-2Last week I went on the second “Girl’s Road Trip” with my BFF. Last year we went to Napier which is on the east coast of New Zealand’s north island. So this year we decided to go to the west coast…..Raglan. Everyone I spoke to said that there was nothing to Raglan but a few shops and surfing, so we were on a mission to prove them wrong!

Well, we can confirm that there is definitely more to Raglan than just surfing…..in the 4 days we were there we went shopping in the various lovely boutique shops, visited a local glass lampworking artist, had our tarot cards read, visited Bridal Veil Falls, rode horses on the beach, went to local markets and my friend went for a surfing lesson……

So, the following Friday BFF phones me and says she’s got this great plan…..her hubby is away, so she’ll come pick me up, drive me and her four year old child for an hour to a beach that is forecasted to have great surf…and I can mind said child while she practises her newly acquired skills. I’m obviously a soft touch because I agreed to get up early on a Saturday morning and postpone all the things that I had planned for the day.

We arrive at notorious Piha beach on Auckland’s west coast – it is rated as New Zealand’s most dangerous beach because of its strong rips and therefore high number of rescues and sadly, deaths. Fortunately (as far as I was concerned), BFF was told that the surf was up so much that morning that even the experienced surfers weren’t out. So, change of plan……cup of coffee and cake in the local café and a walk along the beach to look at the massive crashing waves.

captureTo accompany her coffee, BFF ordered a vegan, gluten-free, raw apricot and coconut slice. I nicked a piece to try…YUM! So, when I finally got home that day, I immediately googled for recipes and found one that I had all the ingredient for. It only took about 15 minutes to make and is a yummy guilt free snack. I see that the website also had a Mango and Coconut version, which I might try next time.

You can find the recipes here.