Going nowhere fast…

MonkeyI don’t know what’s going on at the moment, but it’s taking me forever to get anything done! These poor monkeys have been waiting so patiently to be finished, I feel a little bit guilty. The joy of making two monkeys at once kind of hit a snag when I realised I had to make EIGHT LIMBS. E I G H T. And then sew them on. Every time I get to the sewing arms, legs and heads on I remember what it is I *don’t* like about amigurumi. That said, it is nice when they’re whole.

two green monkeysLook at them! They’re a really nice size actually. They fit comfortably in your hand, and feel oddly delicate, but firm. The fabric this cotton crochets into is pretty sturdy, but there’s something about the size of these fellas makes you feel a bit protective towards them.

One has a scarf, the other has a scarf-in-progess. The scarf in progress is a simple 2×2 rib. I do love the fact that I can knit them scarves now (Thank you, Mum!) It always felt like a bit of a cruel blow that you spend so much time making them and then you’re still not done – you have to crochet them a scarf as well. (Monkeys always need a little accessory. It’s a very unloved monkey that gets sent into the world without one).

familyUmm, yeah. This is a little family, it seems. The littlest one is here to stay, the orangey one does fit rather well on the bookshelf, although is considering leaving home, and the two green ones will be going somewhere, when I’ve decided where. I started making the green ones some drawstring trousers, but there was a hiccup with the sewing machine, so I need to do a little maintenance work first. These are all cotton, where as the yellow one I made recently was wool. Gawd. I said a long time ago that this blog should probably change its name to ‘Occasional Monkey’, perhaps I was right.

Anyway. Yesterday I went to the Creative stitches and Hobbycrafts show at ExCel, in London, because I was lucky enough to be  given a free ticket. (Thank you, Mum!) My friend and I had fun – but it was nowhere near as good as the Alexandra Palace show, which I still think is the best of those kind of events. The stalls were all okay (not widly exciting) but I did enjoy the Royal Schools of Needlework display, which had examples of students’ sketches and works in progress. (My friend Jane took a lovely photo of the blackwork). I keep a sketchbook / notebook for work, but I’m starting to think I should work out a way to make one for fabric / thready things…

sketchThen I’d have somewhere to put the odd things like this which end up stuffed in various boxes around the house. This was me trying to work out a smaller version of a vintage pattern, and then switching to something else entirely (above).

oopsAnd this is me being an idiot and mis-reading a pattern. What do people *do* with things like this? Do any of you do scrapbooking, or have kids that would like less-than-perfect things to collage with? I dunno. Let me know. Anyway, I digress.

As well as the Royal School of Needlework display, there were some lovely quilts on show. I loved the rich colours on this one, which is actually evenly lit, but has a natural gradient in the fabrics, making it look like its moving from shadows to sunshine:

colourThere was also a display of smocks and smocking, which I think was from a collection owned by the WI. They were absolutely beautiful, my favourites being all one colour, natural linen. It was hard to get a photo as the weren’t well lit, but this is the kind of thing:

smockingSmocking is actually on my list of things to try. (It’s a long list, mind you). Oh – would you look at that, a nice tutorial! It was the work of this lady, who made me realise just how beautiful this kind of thing could be. Actually, looking at it now makes me want to chuck everything I’m working on out of the window, take a week off and learn how to do this *right now*.

We left the show, had lunch and then headed back to Somerset House for the the Walpole Crafted: Makers of the Exceptional 2013 show. (I say ‘headed back’ as we were only there a few weeks ago). This was a nice afternoon mooch – in the same space as the previous show we’d seen. Again there was some thought provoking work on display. I did love the colours on this Fair Isle Knitting, by Mati Ventrillon:


fair_blueThere’s so much stuff to try, isn’t there. Gah! As always, so much to do and so little time.

There was one other thing that was a feature of yesterday – and today. Sunshine! We had some sunshine. Yesterday finished off with a lovely long walk in the sun, through central London and Green Park, and today a lovely walk in the country side – I spotted primroses, daffodils and even a few lambs. I thought I should make note of it here – at least then if we don’t get any more for a while I can look back and remember how nice it was.

Actually, despite the worrying title of this post, I’ve had a lovely weekend. I hope you have too.

Broomstick lace scarf no: 2

So, a while back, a Ravelry friend happened to mention that Kemps had a big sale on baby bamboo yarn. I have to admit, until that point, I’d remain blissfully aware of Kemps – but if you’re in the UK, and you don’t know them, keep an eye on their newsletters, as they have great deals for all kinds of yarn.

Broomstick lace

I bought 12 balls of blue baby bamboo and decided I’d make a broomstick lace scarf for my mum for Christmas. It’s been an ongoing project for a while – it’s a good TV making project, really. I’ve made one before – if you haven’t and you’re looking for a tutorial, I used this video – it was the first one I found when I searched!

wearing a broomstick lace scarf

Like the previous scarf I made, I decided to edge this, as I worry about the bare threads catching. (It’s unblocked in all the photos, incidentally). For this, I did one row of single crochet, one row of double, and finished off with a picot every 4 stitches. It’s a really chunky scarf – which I like, but actually, now I’m worried it’s too chunky for my Mum…

Broomstick lace rows

I really like the raised rows you get on one side of the scarf. I usually do the row of looped stitches, and then two rows of single crochet above that. I know some people don’t do the rows in between but I like the texture. Overall, this kind of crochet is great – it looks really clever, without being too over the top, and it’s very easy to do (and quite forgiving if you miss a stitch or two here and there).

In the meantime, I’ve also been making a scarf with laceweight yarn. Actually, it’s a bit thinner than lace weight. Stupidly, I decided to make quite a dense scarf:

Other scarf

Having said that, it looks really nice. For some reason the colour is really hard to get with my camera, but take it from me, it’s a beautiful mossy green – hand dyed, so different tones. It took forever to make this – to the point where I ended up sacrificing tatting on the train for a while to get it done. (I really missed the tatting, way more than I’d expected).

Other scarf 2

Frustratingly, the scarf looks so nice and delicate in real life and just rubbish in pictures. But anyway, after all this, I think this one will be the gift for my mum, with the option of swapping it for the other one. I have a feeling she’ll like the green one more… We shall see.

WIPs: crochet and tatting

Gah! I knew it. Yesterday the sun was shining and everything looked lovely. Today? Grey, overcast, everything looks a bit… Meh. When did I decide to take some photos? Today, of course.

Anyway. Just a quickie to say that I’m still going with the broomstick scarf:

Actually, I’m really enjoying it. Turns out it’s easy to do this when catching up with old series of 24 (for some reason we’ve seen everything but the first series, so a remedying that now). It’s the perfect pick up, put down project.

I’m on ball 3 of the baby bamboo yarn – and I imagine there will be a few more to come yet. I do like this yarn though. Very soft, and does have a really nice sheen to it – without looking cheap. I’d use it again for other things.

I guess the only bad thing is that I’ve made this scarf quite wide. On a bad day, I think too wide, on a good day, I think y’know, stylishly wide. There’s a lot of draped knitted fabrics out there at the moment, and a lot of capes and wraps… this is a… oh no…

It’s a scrap! A cross between a scarf and a wrap! What have I DONE?

Never mind. It does actually look really nice as a piece of fabric (even if I do say so myself). If it’s too wide to wear in public I’ll drape it artfully over the arm of the sofa and pretend we’re in Country Living.

I’m also continuing my commuter project of tatting the Primrose Path doily, by Mary Konior. I really couldn’t get a decent photo of it – I hate photography – and so I can only apologise. Here it is resting on my cammo tatting travel bag:

Doily and bag

I’m in two minds about this. On the one hand, I know what’s left of the pattern well enough by now to just get on with it and on the other…

Well, it looks a bit crap, and I’m not sure I actually *want* to finish it. There’s various things that look a bit odd – like the fact that some of the first row of chains are almost stright lines, rather than curves, I’ve pulled one chain completely out of shape (thank you Southern Railways)… and… I dunno. So I know I wont love it that much when it’s finished. Actually the more I think about it, the more I think I should scrap it and start something new.

We’ll see. I should actually be working right now, so we’ll see how the day goes. I might not have time to dig out another project before tomorrow, so maybe I’ll carry on. I’ll let you know.

Broomstick lace


Hello, did you come here via a google search for Broomstick lace? If so, thanks for coming, it’s lovely to meet you. I have a feeling you might be looking for a tutorial video, in which case, I used this one, and found it very good. I must confess, I’ve only watched part one, as it was all I needed to get going. Few other things that are useful to know:

• Its very easy and looks complicated
• I find less ‘fluffy’ yarns are best, to make the most of the pattern. (Better stitch definition)
• After every row of broomstick lace I do a row of double crochet – you don’t have to, but I quite like the stripes it creates. Also it gives it a bit more structure, which is good for an ‘every day’ scarf.
• I also crochet around the edges of the whole thing at the end, because it stops me worrying about the edges snagging on something when its worn. I usually add a picot every 4 or 5 stitches too, just to liven it up a bit.
• I used a very fat knitting needle as my ‘broomstick’, but I’ve seen other people use a ruler.

And that’s it really. The rest of this page has my original post, but I thought the above might help you get the information you wanted a bit quicker. Enjoy your crochet!


So, I’ve been seeing odd pieces of broomstick lace cropping up for a while now. It’s not really lace as such, but crochet, made over a ‘broomstick’:

broomstick lace

I spotted a lovely scarf over on Ravelry (you’ll need to be logged in) recently, and thought I’d have a go. Can’t be impossible, right? Actually it’s not. It’s a bit fiddly, but easy to pick up – although I might take that back when I’ve finished it and it all turns out to be a disaster!

broomstick needle

Look! My first knitting needles! I had to get them yesterday, as I didn’t have anything else appropriate. From what I’ve seen, these scarves look better in a yarn with a slight sheen – you know, less wooly. Being pretty limited by the local shop, and the urge to start NOW I went with the best option I could find which is Sidar ‘Baby Bamboo’. It splits a bit, but it’s really soft actually. The softness of it makes it quite nice to work with.


At the end of each row, you slide all the loops off the broomstick. The you work double stitches over groups of 4, and it magically just all works out. It’s pretty clever, really. If you’d like to try, but don’t have a book to hand, there’s a bunch of tutorials on YouTube. I just went with the first one I could find, which is a… well, it’s a three parter, but I haven’t got past the beginning of the second one, as I don’t need to increase or decrease for this. If you *do*, I’d suggest watching the rest!

If I never mention this again, it’s because I’ve messed it up, or got bored! Hopefully neither though. We’ll see.

Edit: part 2  |  scarf 2