Knitting and crochet, the best of friends

Knitting and crochet

This wee fellow is off to a new home tomorrow. He’s going to live with a little three year old girl, called Scarlett. I would be more concerned, but she’s taken excellent care of the monkey I made her in 2013, so fingers crossed! I hope she likes him and plays with him as much, and as carefully (!) as she does with the monkey.

A naked giraffe

Here he is, as naked as the day he was born, in all his crocheted glory. And looking rather embarrassed about it too. It’s a lovely pattern – although as ever, crocheting arms and legs drives me  bit nuts. I always end up missing a stitch somewhere along the way and having to add one or two back in later. If you are in any way giraffe inclined though, I would recommend the pattern and you can find it here. I chose green for mine, because I think it’s nice for little girls to know that colours other than pink are available!

Giraffe scarf

True to form, I made a giraffe scarf. It actually matches the one I made for the monkey, but I think that’s purely because I used the same logic by accident – “I should probably add something scarlet”. I’m nothing if not original…

But then I thought he looked a bit naked. And maybe a little cold. But what to make to warm up a giraffe, other than a scarlet scarf?


A wooly jumper of course!

I was in a bit of a rush, as I desperately wanted to finish this in time for Scarlett’s birthday, so I chose a basic, one-coloured pattern. I was also worried I wouldn’t know how to make it, so I thought the simpler the better. In the end I went for another pattern from Little Cotton Rabbits and it’s great! It’s knitted flat, and you start with individual pieces, which come together at the chest. You have to stitch it together of course, but its not hard and looks great.

jumper backAnd look! There’s a little button fastening at the back, which means…

Arms up!

That it’s easy to get on and off again! Quite important I think.

I adjusted the pattern a little bit – longer arms etc – and I think if I were a more skilled knitter I’d’ve taken it in at the sides to suit his body shape a bit more, but in the end, I was quite pleased with it. It looks nice and cosy. The button at the front is just for decoration, incidentally.

Suave and warm

And so there he is. All nice and warm and ready to meet his new friends.

You know what’s also a little funny about this? This is the first jumper I’ve ever knitted! And yes, I am still working on the Brooklyn Tweed Boardwalk pattern, from ages ago! Must get started on that again now.

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.

Everything at once

I should be doing the garden. I’ve been saying that since around 11am, and it’s just gone 4pm. I started making a pinwheel quilt this morning, and I must admit, I’ve been having a lovely time. Doesn’t mean I haven’t gone wrong and unpicked things, or that all my edges match up the way they should, but never mind.

I mentioned before that I treated myself to a rotary blade and a Hera marker – I also bought some fabric at the same time. I’m *very* new to sewing machines, so thought a pinwheel quilt would be a nice place to start. All straight lines, and if it ends up a bit wonky, well it’s not the end of the world.


I’ve made about 9 pieces so far (with breaks for a bacon sarnie, a quick watch of instructional Youtube video and a phone call). I’m using my hand-cranked Singer – and today I actually managed to work out how to get it to wind thread on to the bobbin too! Very exciting. Such a lovely machine – and it makes the most beautiful sound as you sew.

I’ve also been crocheting in the last week or so. I finished a scarf I was making – the pattern is on Ravelry.


In the end I added 2 rows of single crochet and a round of picots, as it felt a bit unfinished without. It’s very warm – the yarn is Debbie Bliss Andes – which is baby alpaca and silk. Had I realised I’d need 6 skeins I’d’ve chosen something a bit cheaper! (Luckily Kemps has a sale right on time.)

scarf 2

(The above shot is the scarf unblocked – I don’t think I’ll block it…)

I actually made it long enough to wrap around my neck twice. I had an internal battle over wanting to get it finished and wanting to make it long enough to wear the way I’d rather wear scarves. In the end, it took a little longer but I’m looking forward to wearing it.

I never took finished photos of the broomstick lace scarf either. For some reason, it doesn’t photograph well – but this is a shot of the edging. I added picots to that too – for a couple of reasons actually. Again, it felt more finished to me (less like a stitch swatch), but also, there are longish single bare threads on the edges, due to the nature of the stitch. I was worried that I’d end up catching them, so this was partly for protection too.

broomstick edging

I love this scarf (my first) but I should’ve forced myself to make it longer. It’s a wee bit short.

Anyway – the garden calls. First though, I just need to cut some fabric for another tatted lavender bag, before I put stuff away… Lets hope it’s not started getting dark before the time I step outside.

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

Panic crochet

On the run up to Christmas, I’d decided to make a few gifts for various people. Little by little time started to trickle by, and before I knew it, run away with me completely. I was going to make bunting, but then that plan was scuppered by someone faster with the same idea, I was going to make a monkey, but decided that the recipient was probably still a bit young. I was going to make a lavender bag, with the little piece of Irish crochet I’d made, but didn’t have time to get to a fabric shop, and… and… like I said, time just disappeared.

On 23rd December, I knew I had a failsafe plan for a friend who had made me some cushions for my birthday – which I *loved*. I was going to make a Queen Anne scarf – the pattern for which is available for free here. (It seems to be missing its pictures, but if you’d like to see pictures, Flickr has lots). It’s a lovely pattern, works up pretty quickly from what I’d read, and I knew just the yarn, as I’d spotted it on Ravelry.

Except that on 23rd December 7.00pm, John Lewis had decided to take the remaining few balls of this yarn off the shelves  – and put it at the bottom of a huge cage in the stock room, unreachable by human hands.

I switched to a different yarn. ‘It’s pretty similar,’ she said, ‘it should work out fine.’

Except that it was nothing like it. I started the scarf. It was tiny. You’d be lucky to warm the neck of a Barbie, let alone that of a full grown friend. I switched patterns. I started the Boteh Scarf instead – I knew I could do it, I’d made it before. Except  I had my doubts. Was it right in this yarn? It was a bit heavy wasn’t it? Not very delicate. Doesn’t feel that special. Ack.

I searched Ravelry to see what else people had made with the yarn I had available, and lo and behold, I found a lovely pattern!

I crocheted into the night. I crocheted while I waited for a kettle to boil. I crocheted on the phone. I crocheted on the train. I crocheted on Christmas day and on Boxing day. I finished on 27th December, and it was ironed and blocked by the evening.

If I’m honest, I’m not sure I’d recommend this yarn for this pattern. The yarn is nice, the pattern is great, but to do the pattern real justice, I think something less textured would be better. This is a bit fluffy and so some of the detail gets lost. But the details are lovely when you can see them.

So it all worked out ok in the end. And I’ve learnt a few things:

• I’m no good at making things to order. Being an Occasional Crafter means you’re pretty good when the pressures off and you can faff about staring into space now and again – but when the push comes to shove, you’d rather stick the kettle on and have a nice cup of tea

• That it’s fine to be a faffer – it’s a hobby afterall

• That Ravelry is really pretty amazing. There’s a ton of patterns on there, which is great – but that you can search by yarn first and see what things people have made with that yarn. Who even knew you’d ever want to do that? Well – proper crafters maybe, but it was rather a revelation to me.

Happy New Year 🙂