Monday, 27 February 2012

A Crochet Pattern for A Plant Pot Cover

I tried these because I had a huge tray of tete - a - tete bulbs to use. I was a bit wary, as I thought this might be a step too far, and I might tip from useful knitting and crochet into plain twee... but I think I've just managed to steer clear of twee - thanks to the Burnt Cream colour of this wool. Well, I say "wool" - this is squeaky acrylic (which I usually avoid) but it was just the right colour and perhaps is a bit hardier than wool for this. The crochet is quite simple as it's just five rows of trebles and the piece is slightly shaped to accommodate the plant pot's increasing girth (I can't believe I have just written that sentence). I've joined it along the seam with double crochet as it makes a neat, substantial edge. Spring is on its way!

To make:

Pattern for Spring Bulbs Crochet Plant Pot Cover
I used a terracotta plant pot from Homebase: diameter at top of pot 11cm.  The cover fits snugly, so it should seem a tight fit if you wrap it around the plant pot to see its length before you’ve finished. If it does seem too small at the end, simply add another row of double crochet down the short side before finishing off.
Crochet hook: size 4mm.  Yarn: DK – small amount – less than 50g!
Make base chain of 33 + 3 chain stitches: a total of 36 chain stitches.
Row 1: 2 trebles in 4th chain from hook.  One chain. *3 trebles in 4th chain from hook, 1 chain.* Repeat from * to last 4 stitches. 1 treble in last stitch (which is the top of the turning chain). 3 chain, turn.
Row 2: 2 tr in first chain space (this will look like 3 trebles because of the 3 chain from previous row). One chain.  *3 tr in next chain space, one chain.* Repeat from * to last 4 stitches. 1 treble in last stitch (which is the top of the chain from the previous row). 3 chain, turn.
First two rows then have 8 groups of 3 trebles.
Row 3 – increase row -: as rows 1 and 2 until last four stitches: 3 tr into last stitch (top of chain from previous row)
Row 4: repeat row 3.
Row 5: repeat row 3.
Rows 3 to 5 thus have 9 groups of three trebles.
To finish: Without casting off or breaking the yarn, turn the oblong of crochet 90 degrees and continue by doing double crochet down the short side, picking up about 10 stitches to make a neat, sturdy edge.
Then, making sure the right side faces outwards, fold the piece of crochet in half. Holding the two sides together, do a row of double crochet as a seam to join the two sides together, putting the hook through the stitch loops of the short sides.  Tidy ends and place around pot!

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Smiths Row Exhibition: Block Party

Smiths Row
This exhibition, in the clean and light gallery in Bury St Edmunds, claims to "[reveal] the contemporary applications and creative possibilities of pattern cutting." It's curated by Lucy Orta. As I'm not really a seamstress, I wasn't sure how much I'd enjoy this, but it was an intriguing exhibition nevertheless. Most of the exhibits were quite a long way removed from the traditional pattern cutting that I remember from my mum's Butterick makes of the 1980s - the gallery says they look "poetically" at the craft - but a couple of the exhibits really appealed to me: in one, a garment had been made from fabric cut from the old-style paper patterns that I remember, but the pieces had been put to new uses - eg, a pattern piece for a sleeve used around a neck, or a lapel piece used as a waistband. Possibly not a great way of making a wearable garment, but instead quite an interesting revelation (to me!) about how one conforms, in a way, when following a (paper or indeed a knitting) pattern - doing what it says, slavishly! So there was something quite amusing and provocative about 'perverting' the paper pattern, or 'rebelling' against the paper pattern in this way.

The second exhibit I particularly enjoyed was of a glove made from a super-modern version of chain-mail - lots of cream links forming a 3D garment. The caption suggested that ultra-modern technology would create the fabric around the physical form, thus eliminating waste. Initially, I thought this was great: no waste, better for the environment . . .   but then I thought of the great uses that waste fabric snippets can be put to. An obvious example: patchwork. I used to always love a little patchwork cushion that my grandmother had, made from tiny little misshapen scraps of fabrics from her favourite worn-out dresses. What would happen to little memory-box works like patchwork if we had the fabric moulded to us, stitch by stitch, rather than piece by piece?

These are descriptions of just two exhibits which stuck in my mind; I think I'll have to go again and look harder at more of them!

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Snow in Suffolk

It takes so long to take a picture without any people in .... but there we go. These shots were taken on Sunday in the Abbey Gardens, Bury St Edmunds, after Saturday night's delicious snow fall. It was *so* cold, I couldn't even imagine how much colder the original monks of the ?twelfth century would have been!

There's nothing like snow to make people envious of one's knitwear! I was sporting gloves, beret and snood, all in different lovely warm yarns. I haven't got into knitting socks - but have just seen some gorgeous ones in Joelle Hoverson's More Last Minute Knitted Gifts, so I may give them a try.

Snow does make any day feel like a holiday, though, doesn't it?

Sunday, 5 February 2012

In Which I Go Out - Without Knitting - to a New Cafe.

Now, apart from a scrumptious dinner with friends, the highlight of this weekend was a trip to The Coffee House in Moreton Hall. An article in the local paper announced that two women had started an independent cafe and it's been running over a year now. Following them on Twitter - @TheCoffeeHouse5 - means that I've seen pictures of their lovely cakes and scones, so this weekend, as a treat for my stripey-armed Lady Friend and me after a glamorous trip to the tip - we went to see what it was like. When we got there, I was whimpering with disappointment because they were just about to close .... but they served us anyway! No national big chain is going to do that, we thought smugly. The decor is lovely, there's WiFi - and Bakewell tarts, coffees and the biggest cheese straws ever. Knitted cupcakes in the window - I approve. Lovely coffee too. I have always had little dreams about having my own cafe . . . and this one was disturbingly like the one I'd planned. In my fantasy double-life, in which I write and knit in different caffeine-rich locations all day, this is where I'll go.